Intercontinental Submarine Cables
As the global bandwidth needs grow, operators of hyper-scale cloud platforms — Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon — have started to play a much bigger role in consortia that build intercontinental submarine cables. In some cases, these cloud companies have been signing on as major customers of future cables, thereby enabling cable builders to finance the projects. In other cases — and we’re seeing more and more of this lately — these companies get involved directly, as the projects’ investors and owners.
Recent examples of the latter include Facebook and Google’s investment in construction of the Pacific Light Cable Network, which will link Los Angeles to Hong Kong, and Facebook and Microsoft’s investment in the MAREA cable, which will connect a landing station on the coast of Virginia to a landing station in Bilbao, Spain.
These investments by hyper-scale companies and by other cable builders looking to serve their bandwidth needs have spurred a submarine cable construction boom. One of the potential outcomes of the boom is more demand for data center space in facilities operated by the likes of Equinix or Digital Realty Trust, among others, which can provide network access to these new connectivity routes.