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US-China tensions loom over undersea internet cables

Friday, June 25, 2021


Most users’ interaction with the internet occurs wirelessly but underpinning global data delivery are hundreds of submarine cables that traverse the ocean floor. The sector’s prospects are changing as the investment landscape shifts, cybersecurity risks rise and US-China technology tensions intensify.


  • International consortia will remain key investment vehicles for logistically complex and expensive submarine cable projects.
  • Indian private-sector telcos will emerge as major players in the cable owner landscape, boosting prospects for India-centred networks.
  • Biden may push for international cooperation on standards for building, owning and maintaining undersea cables.
  • Taiwan, a communications and technology hub, may prove especially vulnerable if its cables are cut or threatened by China during conflict.
  • Emerging market economies will be negatively affected by growing US-China tensions around undersea cables.

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