Submarine cable operators face network congestion, political upheaval

What's the best way to beam data traffic to distant points across the Earth? A satellite, right? Wrong. More than 95 percent of all intercontinental Internet traffic travels via submarine cables, not satellite. However, these critical communication links are at risk of being cut from a number of threats: accidents, political instability in key countries, and direct attacks on the cables themselves. To keep the globe connected, redundancy is key--leading providers to search for new cable routes to get around critical choke points. In the subsea cable market, which is largely dominated by supplier Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU), fluctuations in capacity can be a major problem in certain areas. Between the United States and Europe, a single cable cut causes little to no concern, because several cables cross the North Atlantic. But in the Middle East and India, it's a different story. Check out FierceTelecom's special report on the challenges facing the submarine cable industry.