Italy’s bid for control over sparkle undersea internet cables

Italy’s strategic interest in gaining control of Sparkle stems from a broader vision to strengthen its national security, protect critical infrastructure, and acknowledge the role these undersea cables play in global connectivity and data transmission.

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The Italian government has set its sights on taking over Sparkle, the undersea cable division of Telecom Italia (TIM), recognising it as a pivotal national asset. Sparkle holds responsibility for the management of fiber cables spanning an impressive 500,000 to 600,000 kilometers, linking Italy, the US, Israel, Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Americas.

Why does it matter?

The government’s interest in gaining control of Sparkle is part of a broader effort to protect and secure vital undersea infrastructure, given the national security implications and the increasing attention to the importance and vulnerability of undersea cables. Due to the strategic importance of these cables, the Italian Navy is already collaborating with Sparkle to monitor and deter attacks on undersea internet cables. The government’s move is also seen as a way to secure control of critical infrastructure and address the sensitivity of the data carried by these cables.