Subsea Cables

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The Future of Subsea Cables

Subsea telecommunication cables have a very long history. Since the installation of the world's first submarine cable across the Dover Strait in 1850, Subsea cables have been essential to the worlds communications infrastructure.

Bandwidth, capacity and connectivity are historically the drivers behind construction of subsea cables.

However, the new buzzword is "Latency".  Latency is quite simply the time delay of signals traversing across the network.

So why is latency so important?

Low latency has always been an important consideration in telecoms networks but recent changes in applications within many industry sectors have brought low latency right to the forefront of the industry. The finance indus­try and Algorithmic Trading, or Algo Trading as it is known, is a commonly quoted example. Here latency is critical and to quote Information Week magazine "[A] 1-millisecond ad­vantage in trading applications can be worth $100 million a year to a major brokerage firm".

Quite simply the way to reduce latency is to make the cable shorter, and the best way of making the cable shorter, is to make it straighter.

There are currently two new "low latency" Trans-Atlantic cables being planned that will connect the USA to England and the USA to Eire.

Another low latency cables are planned to connect the UK to Japan by installing a cable across the Arctic Circle above Canada through the North West passage. The cost of installing such a cable is estimated at £700Million to £1Billion.

Planned Cable Link Through the Arctic