The submarine fiber optic cable industry has had more than its share of ups and downs in its roughly 30-year history, so it is always interesting to take a moment to consider where it stands today.  We look at two metrics when judging the health of the industry: new contract award announcements and new project announcements.  The first indicates how much business there is for the suppliers, the second is a measure of the industry’s optimism for being able to develop and finance new cable systems in the future. 

So where do we stand?  Cable contract announcements for the first half of 2016 are down by about 50% from the same period last year, while new project announcements are up by the same amount.

What does this mean?  While new awards are down, the previous two years were very strong and the current downturn is probably nothing more than the industry “catching its breath.”  More significantly, the huge increase in projects coming into development shows a high level of enthusiasm.  Not all will go to contract, but there should be enough entering the pipeline to keep the industry growing at a significant rate.

The second half of 2016 could tell us much more about the state of the industry.  If contract award totals rebound or even just remain at the current level, things should continue to look bright.  If they slump further or if a number of already-contracted-for projects run into difficulty, there could be factors coming into play that would be a cause for concern down the road. 

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