Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Internet's Undersea World

Click here for larger size image of fibre-optic submarine cable system which also maps out the cable accidentally severed, last year, when a ship's anchor sliced two cables off Egypt, causing internet outages in the Middle East and India.

The map pictured above displays a vast undersea network of fiber optic cables that are the backbone to the entire internet. Miles of these cables span continents, sending data as pulses of light from one destination to another and carry about 95% of voice and telephone traffic. The cable is not evenly distributed between the continents. Until today, East Africa was the only major inhabited coastline excluded from the global broadband map.

In the next year, it is estimated that about ten new undersea connections are expected to serve Africa.

"The opening of a fiber optic cable providing broadband Internet service to millions of people in Southern and Eastern Africa is part of an ambitious plan to expand Web access and help spur the continent’s economy and technology industry.

The cable, built by Seacom, a consortium 75 percent controlled by African investors, is the first of about 10 new undersea connections expected to serve Africa before the middle of next year. The expansion will cost about $2.4 billion and will help connect Africa with Europe, Asia and parts of the Middle East at higher speeds and a lower cost."


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