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Chapter 2. The Submarine Cable Industry: How Does it Work?

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Chapter Summary

The first submarine cable was laid between Dover, in the United Kingdom, and Calais, in France in 1850. The first submarine cables were either privately owned, developed as a result of the vision of entrepreneurs such as the Brett brothers and Cyrus Field following nationalization of telegraph companies. The submarine cable industry includes special interest bodies, such as the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC), who play an essential role in providing leadership and guidance on issues related to submarine cable security and reliability. Companies invest in a submarine cable in exchange for the acquisition and use of capacity. The early submarine cables tended to be point to point, of a fixed bandwidth size and the allocation of capacity was fairly straightforward. Finance for a subsea cable is basically either sourced internally or externally. This can be a considerable investment, since a modern transpacific system may cost around USD1 billion.

Keywords: Brett brothers; International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC); submarine cable industry; United Kingdom

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