This Map of the World’s Underwater Broadband Cables Says a Lot About Who Matters
This post was written by Oliver Micheals and originally appeared on RYOT.
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:
But it’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 this physical 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 a virtual 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.
Map credit: Alcatel