International communications traffic grew 64% in 2008, spurring investment in network capacity despite the recession, according to data from TeleGeography's Global Bandwidth Research Service.
More than 60% of US network operators surveyed plan to light new optical fibres on their network in 2009, TeleGeography said. Telcos also plan to lay 16 new undersea cables in 2009, more than those laid in 2001, the peak of the submarine cable investment bubble.
"While the number of cables being laid is impressive, this current batch of new cables won't break the bank," said TeleGeography analyst Alan Mauldin. "Most new cables cover shorter distances and use simpler designs than their predecessors. This helps keep costs down."
Telegeography said total spending on submarine cables in 2009 would reach $2.6bn, a fifth of the $13.5bn spent in the 2001 frenzy.
New submarine cables entering service, 1998-2011