A (Refreshed) List of Content Providers' Submarine Cable Holdings


By Alan MauldinJun 27, 2024


For the last eight years, we've posted submarine cables owned by content providers over here. (Shout-out to the readers who had this one bookmarked.)

When we first published this list in 2017, we had 20 cables listed. Fast-forward to today, and our list has grown to 59—a sizable markup.

With such an uptick in content provider cables to track, we figured it was worth starting a fresh new list for you to bookmark.

But first: what's the deal with content providers and cables since we started tracking this info nearly a decade ago?

In the past decade, few telecommunications industry trends have been as impactful as the rise of content providers becoming the dominant users of international capacity.

As you might recall, content providers' appetite for bandwidth ballooned in the early 2010s. In response, some of these network operators transitioned from just being customers of wholesale capacity to owning transport network infrastructure.

This trend began when Google became an investor in the Unity cable consortium, which entered service in 2010.

Since then Meta, Microsoft, and, most recently, Amazon, have also invested in new submarine cable systems either directly or as major pre-sale purchasers.

Beyond these publicly disclosed cable investments in the table below, content providers have acquired partial or full fiber pairs on other submarine cables. They also have leases and IRUs for managed capacity on numerous systems as well.


We'll update this new list as these providers get involved in new cable projects or as other content providers start investing in similar builds.







 Note: Only publicly announced cables are shown. Updated: June 2024

Who are Content Providers?

The term content provider refers to a wide array of networks known by several labels including hyperscalers, OTTs (over-the-top providers), ICPs (internet content providers), or CSPs (cloud service providers). There are a couple of key segments within the distinction of content providers, and some operators fit more than one segment. These include:

  • Internet-based content and platform providers (e.g. Google, Meta, Microsoft, Apple, and TikTok parent company ByteDance)
  • Cloud service/platform providers (e.g. Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle, Alibaba, and Google)
  • Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) (e.g. Akamai, CloudFlare)

For our research, we include content providers that operate their own long-haul networks as distinct from the public internet backbones run by carriers.

Content 101

Our data shows that content providers' international bandwidth growth has outpaced that of all other users of capacity in recent years.

This has been nothing short of revolutionary in an industry long dominated by traditional internet carriers. In 2017, content providers surpassed internet backbone providers as the largest users of international capacity. This edge has grown rapidly in subsequent years. Between 2019 and 2023 the amount of international capacity deployed by content networks nearly quadrupled, reaching 3.6 Pbps.

Global Content Provider Bandwidth

Global Content Provider Bandwidth

Alan Mauldin

Alan Mauldin

Alan Mauldin is a Research Director at TeleGeography. He manages the company’s infrastructure research group, focusing primarily on submarine cables, terrestrial networks, international Internet infrastructure, and bandwidth demand modeling. He also advises clients with due diligence analysis, feasibility studies, and business plan development for projects around the world. Alan speaks frequently about the global network industry at a wide range of conferences, including PTC, Submarine Networks World, and SubOptic.

Connect with Alan