Underwater Cloud: Inside the Cables Carrying 99% of Transoceanic Data Traffic

The Eastern Telegraph Company System – chart of submarine telegraph cable routes (1901)

30 June 2017 | KURT KOHLSTEDT | 99% Invisible

Local wireless internet helps promote the feeling that data moves through thin air, but in reality: the vast majority of international data transfers are made possible by underwater cables. These slim fiber-optic tubes are the backbone of our global internet.

Per the Vox video above, “about 300 undersea fiber optic cables are responsible for 99% of international data traffic.” Shallower cables are sometimes disrupted by earthquakes, sea life or seafaring humans, but for the most part they are robust enough to resist damage. Deeper cables can reach over 30,000 feet in depth.


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