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This Map of the World’s Underwater Broadband Cables Says a Lot About Who Matters

This Map of the World’s Underwater Broadband Cables Says a Lot About Who Matters

This post was written by Oliver Micheals andoriginally appeared onRYOT.

So Google’s going for”global domination” again, and this time they’re looking to lay some 5,000 miles of super high-speed cable across the Pacific ocean at a cost of nearly $300 million.

Okay, so maybe the project (appropriately called “Faster”) is really just to improve the broadband network between us and Japan:

Credit: NEC

Butit’s got me thinking. In the age of satellite, wireless and bluetooth, we often forget that so much of our communication is still dependent on overground wires and underwater cables,especially for communicating with people in different parts of the world.

Turns out, only around one percent of our communications are handled via satellite, meaning we’re almost totally dependent on these wires to stay in touch with our family, friends and coworkers.

Mapping thisphysical network is called cyber-geography, and it’s a tangible way of seeing just how much it takes to enjoy being able to watch, say,videos of Kevin Richardson hugging lions in Africa.

But it also says a lot about who we’re most keen on communicating with, or perhaps more tellingly, who we’re ignoring.

Specifically, you’ll see avirtual lack of connection with Africa, which doesn’t mean we can’t reach them it just means the speed and volume of traffic is much lower.

Seeing which countries these cables circumvent really puts into perspective who does and doesn’t matter to big nations and corporations.

Credit: Alcatel


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Map credit: Alcatel

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6:55AM PDT on Sep 1, 2014

Interesting article, thank you!

9:49AM PDT on Aug 20, 2014


7:58AM PDT on Aug 19, 2014

This map shows me coastal, industrialized, concentrated population areas connected by communication cables. The fact that land-locked, technologically forward areas are not on the ocean cable network speaks more to the fact that there is no ocean access (ever heard of above-ground and/or wireless communication?).

Supply follows demand. If there is no current demand for or location for ocean cable connections, none will be planned nor created. Any area that wants it merely has to create the demand.

Good grief, people - get your heads out of your rectal sphincters and face reality!!!

12:19PM PDT on Aug 18, 2014


6:58AM PDT on Aug 18, 2014

@Ron G. Satellites are actually at risk of physical disruption from space junk, rarely from meteorites (, and from geomagnetic storms. Most satellites have to be replaced every 10 -15 years.

I dispute the basic thesis of this article, that Africa only has a few broadband cable links because nations and corporations don't think the people of Africa matter. Look at the map again. The continent of Africa has more connections that all of Canada and Russia combined. The landlocked Eastern European and Central Asian states have zero links.

Undoubtedly, the communications industry has it's own agenda, but don't try to shoehorn it into your "everybody persecutes Africa" ideology.

12:44PM PDT on Aug 17, 2014


9:50AM PDT on Aug 17, 2014

While it does not have the connections most of the world does one strand carries a minimum of 40,000 calls and each line there represents many strands

7:49AM PDT on Aug 17, 2014

Thank you.

6:54AM PDT on Aug 17, 2014

thank you

9:41PM PDT on Aug 16, 2014

usually fascinated by maps - thanks for the post.

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