This map shows where 1.3 million kilometres of undersea cables run

Telecommunications market research and consulting firm TeleGeography has updated its Interactive Submarine Cable Map, which shows where the world’s undersea cable systems are located.

The map depicts the 487 global cables and 1,304 unique landing stations that allow Internet traffic to be carried between countries and continents.

In total, it records more than 1.3 million kilometres of submarine cables in service around the world.

It also visualises where $8 million in new cable investments will be rolled out over the next three years.

Visitors can search and select cables, landing points, countries, RFS years, and suppliers, providing a comprehensive overview of the history and state of submarine cable developments.

TeleGeography also offers a large physical printed version of the map, which it sells for $250.

Below is a screenshot showing a part of the map with cables running around Africa’s coastline.

TeleGeography explained that telecom carriers originally owned submarine cables, forming a consortium of all parties interested in using a cable.

In the late 1990s, this changed as an influx of entrepreneurial companies built private cables and sold off the capacity to users.

Examples of consortium cables that land in South Africa include WACS and EASSy. Seacom is an example of a private cable.

“Both the consortium and private cable models still exist today, but one of the biggest changes in the past few years is the type of companies involved in building cables,” TeleGeography stated.

“Content providers such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon are now major investors in new cables.”

The company said the amount of capacity deployed by private network operators — like these hyperscalers — had outpaced Internet backbone operators in recent years.

“Faced with the prospect of ongoing massive bandwidth growth, owning new submarine cables makes sense for these companies,” it stated.

Now read: High-end fibre price war in South Africa

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This map shows where 1.3 million kilometres of undersea cables run