Underwater Internet Cables: ‘Submarine Cable Map’ Shows How The World Gets Online

In today’s increasingly wireless world, many forget the massive physical infrastructure used to connect everyone to the Internet. Satellites are used for broadcasting, but most of the world’s information is carried over tiny fiber-optic cables buried in the sea bed that span entire oceans.

TeleGeography, a telecommunications market research firm with offices in San Diego,Washington, D.C., the U.K. and Singapore, catalogued all 263 of these cables (and 22 more that are coming soon) and visualized them on its annual Submarine Cable Map. Like an international version of New York City’s subway map, the Submarine Cable Map provides a unique look at how the world is connected in the information age.

TeleGeography’s research director, Alan Mauldin, told CNN that 99 percent of international communications run on these underwater cables.

The advantage to using cables to deliver information is that it is much less expensive than using satellites, so much larger amounts of information can be carried. Although satellites can reach remote parts of the world and projects like the Outernet and Google’s Project Loon aim to use airborne devices to beam wireless Internet to mobile devices, countries around the world are investing more in building new fiber-optic cables.

“In the past year, many cables were being built to the east coast of Africa, where it was all satellite,” Mauldin said. “We’re seeing cables to remote islands like Tonga and Vanuatu, bringing extremely small conurbations into the fiber network around the world.”

via Underwater Internet Cables: ‘Submarine Cable Map’ Shows How The World Gets Online.

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