The internet’s undersea cables become prized economic and strategic assets as big tech giants assert more control over data flow amid Sino-American tensions.
Undersea Cables’ Increasing Importance
The joint exercise by the navies of Britain, Estonia and Finland in the Baltic Sea signifies the growing strategic significance of protecting undersea gas and data pipelines from sabotage.
Big Tech’s Control over Data Flow
Big tech giants like Amazon, Google, Meta and Microsoft are exerting more influence over the flow of data, turning undersea cables into prized economic and strategic assets.
Rise in Subsea Data Pipes and Big Tech’s Investments
Subsea data pipes carry almost 99% of intercontinental internet traffic, with a rise in demand for international internet bandwidth and big cloud providers’ data-center capacity.
Big Shifts in Subsea Cable Industry
Big tech firms have transitioned from leasing capacity on subsea cables to investing in and owning their own cables, giving them more control and flexibility in managing data flow.
Geopolitical Implications and Sino-American Rivalry
The data-cable business has become entangled in the tech contest between America and China, with implications on cable construction and connectivity, leading to more circuitous and costly routes for data flow.