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Current Trends in Submarine CableThe October session of the PTC Webinar Series: Frictionless Business Current Trends in Submarine Cable focused on transformative trends in the submarine cable industry and brought together executive leaders from varied sectors of the industry from across the globe. Not surprisingly, there were more ideas to share than there was time to explore them all. The conversation will continue in January 2022 at the annual Sunday Submarine Cable Workshop during PTC’22: Reunite. Rethink. Renew. in Honolulu. That event will be available both in person and online.

The panelists discussed trends which they each believe will have the most transformative impact on the global undersea cable network in the coming decade. It is rare that a conversation of this sort takes place without touching upon the fact that increasing demand for international communications connectivity, which has recently been driving an increasing number of cables year-over-year, is expected to continue even as technology and product evolution starts to again set its eyes upon some revolutionary breakthroughs.

Perhaps the newest and most important industry trend is the increasing focus on achieving sustainability targets; on that, our panelists briefly discussed cable ship improvements, solar powered cable stations, recycling cables, etc.

The trend which garnered the most attention during our short panel was the increasing impact of regulators and other national policy makers on cable connectivity across the oceans. We managed not to dwell on how U.S.-China relations are shaping cable connectivity but instead took a broader view. There were ideas shared about how governments can establish supportive policies that encourage development of more cables to specific areas, which in turn end up driving new cable routes and connectivity, thereby making the global mesh meshier.

This led to the invariable recognition that there remains the ever-present opportunity, as an industry, to expand industry educational programs. Such programs could not only assist in lobbying and policy-making, but also in attracting new talent to the industry which would also bring new and creative ideas to our industry.

Today, ICPC plays the most important leading role for our industry as its members work with governments and the UN; they have recently published guidelines on best practices for governments looking to establish policies surrounding cables. SubOptic has also launched a variety of educational programs. The panelists believed there remains a lot of work to do to complement those efforts and help steer the course of our industry towards what some dream might be a common goal of a unified and universally-accessible global network. Time did not allow us to productively debate how that challenge might build on what these industry organizations already have underway, but the conversation will continue in January.

See you in Honolulu!

Featured panelists included:

Nigel Bayliff, Chief Executive Officer, Aqua Comms
Virginie Frouin, Chief Sales Officer, Hawaiki
Paul Gabla, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Alcatel Submarine Networks
Marc Halbfinger, Chief Executive Officer, PCCW Global
Ricardo Orcero, Network Investments Submarine Cable EMEA @ Facebook