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Is the Lifespan of a Submarine Cable Actually 25 Years?

“The lifespan of a submarine cable is 25 years.” We’ve all heard that, proper?

Is that this assertion actually a reality—or is it fiction? Let’s discover out.

The origin of this delusion is that submarine cables are engineered to have a minimal lifetime of 25 years. 

This refers back to the moist plant elements which are designed to have a specified failure price throughout a 25-year interval. It additionally refers to many warranties, permits, and touchdown licenses which generally expire after 25 years.

What Concerning the Financial Lifespan?

The financial lifetime of a cable actually will depend on a system’s revenues, or financial worth, exceeding its prices.

This level could also be reached earlier than or after a cable reaches its potential capability—it varies by cable.

Some components that affect a cable’s financial lifespan:

  • The capability of the cable
  • How briskly demand is rising on the route
  • What number of cables are competing on the route
  • The tempo of worth erosion
  • The fault historical past of the cable
  • The cable’s diploma of recurring revenues

It’s essential to notice that cables could successfully attain their finish of financial life however stay in service for causes associated to route range, company technique, or nationwide safety.

Current Cable Lifespan Developments

Let’s have a look at some precise lifespans of cables in current occasions. I created the chart beneath to indicate repeatered cables which have been retired since 2010.

SubOptic Myth 2-1

As you’ll be able to see, they span from about 25 years in service all the way down to round 12 years. The typical lifespan of the cables proven right here: 17 years.

So we’re coming in effectively beneath the 25-year threshold—no less than for cables retired within the final 12 years.

Might This Be Altering?

The Conclusion

The information exhibits that cable lifespans fluctuate so much throughout a really wide selection. So we are able to name this delusion busted.

SubOptic Myth 2-2

Tim Stronge and I tackled this delusion and 5 others throughout our presentation at SubOptic 2023. Obtain our slides for the total breakdown.



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