The advent of new submarine cables like the Hawaiian Telcom-led SEA-US cable is helping to drive up total capacity on U.S. international cables, a trend that's been closely followed by the FCC.
In its 2015 International Circuit Capacity report, the FCC revealed that the total available capacity of U.S. international cables grew in 2015 to approximately 120,000 Gbps circuits, up from 91,000 Gbps circuits in 2014.
The FCC’s report presented circuit capacity data submitted by U.S. facilities-based common carriers, noncommon carrier satellite operators, cable landing licensees and U.S. international carriers that owned or leased capacity on a submarine cable between the United States and any foreign point, as of Dec. 31, 2015.
Specifically, submarine cable capacity grew 35% per year from 2007 to 2015 and, based on data submitted for this report, it is projected to grow 17% per year from year-end 2015 to year-end 2017.
Within the three regions into which the FCC groups submarine cables—the Americas, Atlantic and Pacific regions—the Atlantic region accounted for 40% of total available capacity, the Pacific region had 37% and the Americas region had more than 23%.
During the reporting period, the FCC found that over 87% of global capacity on U.S. international cables was activated. The regulator noted that nonactivated capacity varied among regions, with the Americas region reporting 18%, the Pacific region reporting 17% and the Atlantic region reporting 3%.
According to the report, the top eight foreign landing points (in descending order) for U.S. international submarine cables were: Colombia (9 landing points), Japan and the United Kingdom (7 landing points each), Panama (6 landing points), Brazil and Venezuela (5 landing points each), and Australia and Mexico (4 landing points each).