COMMENT | Unravelling submarine cables: The highways of the 21st century

Nabila Hussain

Modified 30 Nov 2020, 5:03 am

COMMENT | On Nov 13, 2020, Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong decided to revoke the cabotage exemption of submarine cable repair vessels. This is concerning as it has a significant impact on the nation’s digital economy.

Why does this matter?

Today’s trade routes are digital, and digital infrastructure (such as undersea cables) form the highways and railway tracks of the 21st century.

Many people believe that emails and mobile-phone messages are sent through satellites. However, satellites account for less than 5% of information transmission. The remaining 95% of the world’s voice and data traffic rely on undersea cable networks.

There is no substitute for these underwater cables in the event of damage (usually due to offshore sand mining, anchoring, and deep-sea fishing). Undersea cables are the global backbone of the internet - connecting people, businesses, and economies around the world...

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