The world has always been a revolution whenever individuals with a greater vision come forward to lay down their ideas which will transform the world for better. Today individuals like Elon Musk are trying to bring forth latest innovations like Hyperloop, which aims to take passenger and freight transportation to the next level.

Cyrus West Field was a Businessman and Financier, who pioneered the world with his passionate idea of connecting Europe and America by submarine telegraph cable. During the 1850s, its aim was to exchange telegraphs between Newfoundland and Ireland. This visionary project got financial subsidies and naval ships from the government of Britain and America. Today, known as the Transatlantic Telegraph cable, this undersea cable connects Europe and America via the Atlantic ocean. Undersea cable set the next frontier of world telecommunication. Currently, there are about 300 undersea cables stretching over 5,50,000 miles. These undersea cables are the reason why you can send and receive emails, surf the internet, upload – download data. Right from sharing funny dog howling videos on social media to global stock trading, everything is carried out via this cables. This intricate cable system is today the backbone of the world’s digital communication. They are responsible for transmitting 99% of all international data.

The SEA-ME-WE 3 is an optical submarine telecommunication cable which connects longest routes of continents and regions. It connects South East Asia – Middle East – Western Europe.

In India, Chennai and Mumbai are the two main gateway of the internet for international lines. The Tata Communication’s BKC submarine cable landing station is where the global connection to India meets. The speed of the data flowing in and out is 3.6 Tbps. A vast headroom of 20% is secured to ensure untroubled and fluid circulation of information/data.

Advantages of Undersea cables :

It reduces international connectivity costs by 50%. Cables are more strong and durable. Easy transfer of data in bulk within secondsExtraordinary Bandwidth

Disadvantages of Undersea cables :

The disadvantage over weather cannot be easily repaired or modified. Expensive to produce and maintain.

Reliance Jio has invested in an 8,100 km undersea cable which will be called as the Bay of Bengal Gateway. Multiple Telecom Companies invested more than $22 billion to develop these networks. This new cable will pave way for connectivity with Southeast Asia, Far East Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe. The landing points are Barka, Chennai, Fujairah, Mumbai, Penang, Ratmalana.

“Bay of Bengal Gateway offers not just direct connectivity in and out of India through Chennai and Mumbai but also acts as a state-of-the-art 100 Gbps extension of Jio’s 100 Gbps (Gigabits per second) core network.”

                              – Matthew Oommen (President Reliance Jio)

How is this Beneficial to India?

Submarine cables significantly bring global connectivity, which makes the whole globe as one village. Consumers of the internet can go into international waters and explore global content. In this age, it is very important to be aware of global happenings/trends which will upgrade and educate the individual. In this booming world of digitization, it’s very important for every individual to stay with the time. With every economical to social sectors moving onto a digital platform, the role of the internet and global connectivity has become prime! With large parts of the country’s population still living in the backdrop, Undersea cables will provide Telecom Companies an opportunity to provide cheaper Internet which will have a direct positive impact on the access and availability of internet to the remote parts of the country.

Reliance Owner claimed that Reliance’s Telecom Branch is putting everything they can to develop submarine cables and provide free internet to people as they want India to be on the map of contributors to global internet subscribers. Owner Mukesh Ambani claims that putting billions of dollars of investment is worth it as Digital India will be having a vital part in developing the world by connecting each and every individual to the global – digital platform.

“In fact, 25% of the global Internet traffic flows through our undersea cable network backbone. And we connect 80% of global mobile subscribers, too. Think about it the next time you’re accessing the Internet” 

– VS Shridhar, Senior Vice President and Head – Internet of Things, Tata Communications

But last year during December 2016, the Tropical Cyclone Vardah destroyed many internet networks across India. Originated in the bay of Bengal, it disrupted the Bay of Bengal Gateway undersea cable and put a halt to the functioning of many telecommunication networks. It really shows how much damage prone is submarine cables. A flicker of the weather can cost millions to repair the damages. Similarly, on 19 February 2015,  110 km from Mumbai cable station, a fault occurred in the line which disabled many networks like Airtel, Reliance, and Tata. Cables which connected India-Middle East-Western Europe system, roughly about 78 km from Mumbai-Tata station and 36 km from Repeater-1 to Repeater-2, was also affected which caused the same havoc. 2008 saw the biggest Internet mishap in India and many other parts of the world. The disruption caused three major damages to submarine optical communicable cable lines around the world. Mediterranean Sea, Middle East, and India were highly affected by this.

It’s really important for the world to strike a balance between innovation and expenditure. It’s very important for the economy to be stable and equally important for the society to develop. Undersea cables are exemplars as to how much risk and hard work do we, as a society put in to bring a profound change in the quality of our lives. We always learn from mistakes and with that knowledge in hand, we grow!

Sujith Nair

Contributing writer at