Underwater Internet Cables

underwater internet cable

All of us know about the internet but not many of us are aware of the vast, complicated underwater network that makes the internet feasible.

99.7% of all global internet connection is based on underwater cables that connect the continents. As of 2014 there are 285 underwater communication cables in operation. 22 of them are not in use. Recent expansion in internet use has put a strain on the gigabytes needed for each continent. Below is a map of the underwater cables.

Internet ocean map

These cables are incredibly long, they stretch across the vastness of the ocean. They are sturdy but can be broken by the elements of the ocean. Boat anchors, trolling nets and other machinery can actually break these cables.

Also there are people who intentionally cut these cables to slow the progress of the internet for reasons unknown. In 2008 several divers cut a cable to Egypt which resulted in 60% less internet bandwidth for the country. They were apprehended shortly after.

The natural predators and marine life of the ocean can also break internet cables. See below a shark attack on a cable.

In this article 10 Facts about the Internet’s Undersea Cables there are some interesting facts. For example the first underwater telegraph cable was pulled from Newfoundland to Ireland and stretched 1000 miles through the ocean. Guess which year? 1854.

Editors Take

Personally I was unaware of these vast cables that are drawn from all ends of the continents. They all connect the world. In the future as technology develops we will all be connected by satellites. Much like googles new free internet project that is going to give internet to all of Africa by satellite. For comparison Antarctica is the only continent that is not connected by cables. Satellite internet is sold at a premium price to Antarctica. Given the valuable environmental research going on there they can afford the price. It is amazing what humankind can achieve.