The world is becoming ever more digitally connected. The submarine fiber-optic cable network is crucial for maintaining and developing this connectivity. This article first introduces the key characteristics of and required changes in the network. It then clarifies the network’s importance in generating and relaying meanings and practices that sustain contemporary, networked societies globally. Next, it focuses on the challenges of slowness or lack of faster connections and of concentration in critical communications infrastructure. By analyzing the reasons restraining long-awaited changes to the network, the article concludes that neither technological development nor laying of new submarine cables along existing cable routes resolves these challenges. However, recent submarine communications cable projects planning to utilize the seabed of the Arctic Ocean offer potential solutions by suggesting new routes and landings and shortening the cables that carry digital communications between Europe, North America, and East Asia.
- communications infrastructure
- submarine fiber-optic cables
Field of science
- International political science