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 fantasy is that submarine cables are engineered to have a minimal lifetime of 25 years. 

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

What In regards to the Financial Lifespan?

The financial lifetime of a cable actually relies 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 elements 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 value 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 variety, company technique, or nationwide safety.

Latest Cable Lifespan Developments

Let’s take a look at some precise lifespans of cables in current occasions. I created the chart under 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 right down to round 12 years. The typical lifespan of the cables proven right here: 17 years.

So we’re coming in properly under the 25-year threshold—at the very least for cables retired within the final 12 years.

Might This Be Altering?

The Conclusion

The information reveals that cable lifespans fluctuate loads throughout a really wide selection. So we are able to name this fantasy busted.

SubOptic Myth 2-2

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

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