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Meta’s subsea cable investments expected to contribute over half a trillion dollars to Asia-Pacific and European economies by 2025

 

  • Our investments in subsea fiber-optic cables expand broadband capacity for people and businesses in developed and emerging markets around the world.
  • We’ve helped develop two subsea cables in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region that are already in service, and we are building and developing several more across the region. According to Analysys Mason, these investments are expected to add approximately $422 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) in APAC between 2021 and 2025. 
  • In Europe, we invested in Marea, one of the highest capacity transoceanic cables in the world. According to RTI International, our investment has been contributing about $18 billion each year to Europe’s economy since 2019.

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In the decades since the first fiber-optic line crossed the Atlantic, a complex network of subsea internet cables has covered the planet. These threads connect our global society, enable the exchange of goods and ideas, and facilitate connections among people with oceans between them. 

We commissioned two new studies by Analysys Mason and RTI International that show the impact of our subsea projects in APAC and Europe, respectively. These studies demonstrate that our investments help make these subsea cable projects economically viable for local providers, which in turn enhances broadband capacity for both developed and emerging markets.

As part of our effort to improve worldwide connectivity, we’ve partnered with others to develop and build numerous new cable systems in APAC and Europe, which have the potential to contribute nearly $600 billion in additional GDP by 2025.

Graph showing how the economic impact of our subsea cables has increased in APAC. From 2021 to 2025, these increases will total $422 billion.

In APAC alone, these efforts are expected to create up to 3.7 million new jobs. In Indonesia, our subsea investments are expected to expand GDP by $59 billion cumulatively between 2023 and 2025 and help create up to 1.8 million jobs — in construction, telecommunications, and service-oriented industries such as finance, health care, IT, and education — by 2025. The Philippines stands to gain $34 billion in additional GDP cumulatively from 2021 to 2025 and 380,000 new jobs by 2025.

Marea, a transatlantic cable system in which we have a significant investment, has added approximately $18 billion to Europe’s GDP each year since 2019, equal to about 6 percent of its current average annual growth. Over the next five years, we plan to land two new cables in Europe. By 2027, these new cables will be contributing about $65 billion annually to the European economy. Combined, all three cables to Europe will contribute an impact roughly equal to 25 percent of a typical year’s GDP growth.

In Ireland, our cables are estimated to contribute $2.78 billion to the Irish economy each year, beginning in 2025. Together, these cables will contribute an impact roughly equivalent to 15 percent of Ireland’s typical GDP growth.

But more bandwidth is needed to connect the globe

Since its inception, the internet has evolved from a novelty to an absolute necessity. It’s how people search for jobs, companies manage their supply chains, and small businesses expand their customer bases. As we’ve grown increasingly dependent on the internet for much of our daily lives, internet traffic is increasing at a 27 percent compound annual growth rate.

The pandemic laid bare our need for connectivity when we turned to video conferences and livestreams to reach the outside world. And demand for reliable broadband will only continue to increase. We are steadily migrating to even more immersive applications that will lay the foundation for the metaverse. This future hinges upon the robust, high-speed core networks that subsea cable infrastructure provides.

Clearing bottlenecks in APAC

These investments are beneficial for everyone, whether they hail from the world’s largest cities or its most remote corners. In Asia, for example, most existing subsea cables are crammed into a few highly developed hubs in Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong, crowding along the same undersea routes. Many pass through the Luzon Strait between the Philippines and Taiwan, an area prone to geological events. Almost all traverse some of the world’s busiest waterways.

To help open up these bottlenecks, we are developing new submarine cable systems with key regional and national partners. By contributing financial, technological, and human resources, we are helping boost the overall resiliency and performance of the internet infrastructure, making services more available and affordable for all.

So far, we have invested in several Asia-Pacific subsea systems, diversifying routes and connecting more communities. Two of these systems are already in service: the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Jupiter. These cables crisscross the region, landing in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and the United States.

We’ve also announced plans to invest in eight new submarine cables, slated to be ready for service between now and 2025. Two routes, Echo and Bifrost, bypass the Luzon Strait and are the first to directly connect Jakarta, Indonesia, with the United States. Another cable, known as Apricot, will link Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Guam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Apricot will be the first intra-Asia submarine cable to avoid the most congested section of the South China Sea. 

Improving connectivity in Europe

In Europe, we have invested in several subsea cables. We teamed up with partners to jointly operate Marea, a transatlantic cable linking Virginia, in the United States, to Bilbao, Spain. Our subsea investments to Europe also include AEC1 and Havfrue.

We plan to land at least two additional transatlantic cables by 2027. RTI estimates that the first will catalyze an extra $29.5 billion in GDP per year after it becomes operational. The second, expected in 2027, could bring in another $35.2 billion per year once it becomes operational. 

These projects in APAC and Europe are part of our overall investment in subsea infrastructure around the globe. Together with our partners, we also helped deploy cables in Latin America, such as Malbec, and in Africa, including a new segment of 2Africa called Pearls

Over the last decade, Meta has invested billions in partnership with network operators and providers, original equipment manufacturers, technology companies, other applications providers, and the industry as a whole to improve connectivity around the world. These open, collaborative efforts include internet exchanges, and carrier neutral colocation to extend the benefits of our foundational infrastructure investments like fiber and subsea cables. With these open, collaborative efforts, we’ve seen firsthand how industry-wide collaboration can help bring the world online to a faster internet. As we help build the foundation for the metaverse, we will continue to shepherd the projects that will equip people everywhere to thrive in this bold future.

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