Slicing off Europe? A Have a look at How the Continent Connects to the World


With the current harm to the Nord Stream fuel pipeline, there’s been plenty of speak concerning the potential danger to submarine telecommunications cables in Europe.

This incident has led to hypothesis about whether or not it might be potential to by some means “lower off” Europe from the remainder of the world. Whereas I do not need to speculate on the danger of sabotage, I did suppose it might be worthwhile to elucidate precisely how the continent connects to the remainder of the world. 

Though the common individual might imagine knowledge is primarily touring by way of satellites from Europe to the remainder of the world, the truth is that the overwhelming majority of intercontinental knowledge is carried on submarine cables laid on the ocean ground.

It’s essential to grasp that satellite tv for pc networks don’t have the bandwidth to switch what cables present. (I mentioned this subject in a webinar earlier this 12 months.)

Satellites would permit some degree of information transmission between Europe and the remainder of the world, however would fail dramatically as a whole alternative.

Right here’s extra unhealthy information: undersea cables are fragile. On common, 2-4 cables break someplace on the earth each week. Given this case, the submarine cable trade is sharply centered on efforts to mitigate danger to cables. Cables are closely armored and buried in fault-prone areas.

Submarine cables are additionally protected by a sturdy system of response and restore. Dozens of cable ships are standing by to restore broken cables.   

Security in Numbers

Europe advantages from a lot of cables. Harm to a single cable would have minimal impression on community efficiency as a result of availability of different paths.

Harm to a single cable would have minimal impression on community efficiency as a result of availability of different paths.

Our interactive submarine cable map is a superb place to view the big variety of submarine cables related to Europe. 

Present and Deliberate Submarine Cables Related to Europe

Existing and Planned Submarine Cables Connected to Europe


Europe’s submarine cable connectivity between different areas is concentrated alongside a number of main corridors.


Europe is related to North America by way of 17 cables. Nearly all of trans-Atlantic cables land within the U.Ok. and France, however Denmark, Norway, Eire, and Spain even have landings.

Keep in mind that the capability of the cables varies dramatically. The brand-new Grace Hopper cable, which hyperlinks the U.Ok. and Spain to the U.S., has a possible capability of 352 Tbps. In distinction, the older Yellow cable is able to solely 25 Tbps.

The trans-Atlantic route accounted for 75% of Europe’s complete interregional bandwidth in 2021.

Share of European Interregional Bandwidth by Area, 2021

Share of European Interregional Bandwidth by Region, 2021 TG

Europe-West & North Africa

There are six main Europe-West African cable techniques, together with 11 smaller cables that hyperlink Southern Europe to Northern Africa (excluding Egypt).

The brand new Equiano cable shall be activated by the top of 2022, adopted by the expansive 2Africa cable the next 12 months.

Europe-Egypt & the Center East

Presently, 13 cable techniques hyperlink Europe to Egypt and the Center East. The overwhelming majority of those cables are related to Egypt. These techniques are additionally answerable for carrying knowledge between Asia and Europe.

Past these three main corridors, Europe does have a number of different intercontinental choices. The EllaLink cable hyperlinks Portugal to Brazil, and the Caucasus Cable System spans the Black Sea, linking Bulgaria to Georgia with terrestrial connectivity to different nations within the Caucasus area. 

What About Land-based Choices?

There are, after all, terrestrial networks that hyperlink Europe to Asia. These networks characteristic far much less capability than what is on the market on subsea cables, however extra importantly, all of them go by way of Russia (possibly not a most popular routing today).

For Europe to the Center East, there are terrestrial hyperlinks from Bulgaria-Turkey all the way down to the Center East. This feature lacks the capability to totally substitute subsea connectivity on the route.

General, terrestrial choices simply aren’t a viable back-up possibility for all of Europe’s interregional capability.

General, terrestrial choices simply aren’t a viable back-up possibility for all of Europe’s interregional capability.

Europe as a Hub

Let’s not low cost the position Europe performs as a significant community interconnection hub for Africa and the Center East.

As of year-end 2021, 97% of Africa’s interregional bandwidth was related to Europe, and for the Center East, that share was 90%. If Europe had been by some means lower off from the remainder of the world, connectivity to those areas would even be considerably impaired.

Share of African and Center Japanese Interregional Bandwidth Related to Europe, 2021

Share of African and Middle Eastern Interregional Bandwidth Connected to Europe, 2021 T

As this overview demonstrates, Europe has an array of various connectivity choices, with extra cables deliberate within the coming years.

Slicing off Europe from the remainder of the world wouldn’t be a easy activity. For extra info on submarine cables and worldwide bandwidth demand, seek advice from our World Bandwidth Analysis Service.


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