Transoceanic cables are actually designed with massive capacity. They're
terribly expensive to lay and maintain though, and demand for
communications has kept good pace with available space - keeping the
price of transit high.
Worldcom and Cable & Wireless are in the process of laying a 20 Gbps
transatlantic sonet (DWDM) system which they claim doubles the current
transatlantic capacity. The southern route should be done by November
of this year with the first capacity available for the end of the year.
The northern route, which will close the ring, will be done in '98.
Before we bought them, MFS had already started working on a ring
around europe and metro area networks in several cities over there.
All this means that we should see a significant drop in trans-
atlantic bandwidth (and even intra-europe) charges in the near