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Boat floating in front of a marina

Subsea cables vs satellites

Why don't companies use satellites instead of cables running under the sea to transmit data?

Subsea cables vs satellites

With the potential dangers that face subsea cables every day, why is 99% of all intercontinental communications traffic (phone calls, data, emails, texts, mobile calls) transmitted via cables running under the sea as opposed to satellites?

Satellites are great for reaching areas that aren’t yet wired with fiber-optic cables. However, on a bit-for-bit basis, they simply can't compete with the speed and reliability of fiber. Fiber-optic cables can carry far more data at a far lower cost than satellites.

There is big growth in the sector now because of the fast-rising requirements of cloud-based technology businesses and their customers, as well as the demand for greater capacity from financial services companies seeking the smallest possible delays in transaction times. (Source: FT)

According to Alan Mauldin, research director at the Washington DC offices of TeleGeography, the demand for global bandwidth is growing at up to 40% each year, therefore over the coming years we will see more subsea cables being developed. A report by global industry analysts Strategy R suggests that installations of global fiber-optic cables are projected to reach 2 million kilometers by 2020 driven by the growing demand for fiber broadband.

Protecting our growing subsea cables

Cable owners are only too aware of the potential threats to subsea cables, with 70% of damage resulting from man-made fishing and anchoring activity. This damage can mostly be avoided. Our AssetMonitor service watches and protects subsea and surface assets live, 24 hours a day by placing protection zones around assets. It monitors the behaviour of vessels in and around these zones and constantly feeds vessel position back to a central control hub for detailed analysis. AssetMonitor raises an alarm if the analysis shows that a vessel is exhibiting potentially damaging behaviour.

To learn more about how AssetMonitor from UltraMAP can monitor and protect subsea cables and surface assets please contact us here.

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