The undersea cables that keep the Internet afloat – Six Colors

The world is in the midst of a cable boom, with multiple new transoceanic lines announced every year. But there is growing concern that the industry responsible for maintaining these cables is running perilously lean. There are 77 cable ships in the world, according to data supplied by SubTel Forum, but most are focused on the more profitable work of laying new systems. Only 22 are designated for repair, and it’s an aging and eclectic fleet. Often, maintenance is their second act. Some, like Alcatel’s Ile de Molene, are converted tugs. Others, like Global Marine’s Wave Sentinel, were once ferries. Global Marine recently told Data Centre Dynamics that it’s trying to extend the life of its ships to 40 years, citing a lack of money. One out of 4 repair ships have already passed that milestone. The design life for bulk carriers and oil tankers, by contrast, is 20 years. 

Infrastructure isn’t exciting, but it’s vitally important.

Related Posts