From QZ by Christopher Groskopf
Despite decades of growth, demand for more and faster internet connections continues to skyrocket. According to Cisco, total internet traffic for 2016 will exceed a zettabyte. (A one with 21 zeroes behind it.)
That’s enough capacity to stream approximately 143 billion hours of Netflix video at Ultra HD quality.
Animated map shows the undersea cables that power the internet
Every time you visit a web page or send an email, data is being sent and received through an intricate cable system that stretches around the globe.
Since the 1850s, we've been laying cables across oceans to become better connected.
Today, there are hundreds of thousands of miles of fiber optic cables constantly transmitting data between nations.
Companies such as Facebook, Google, and especially, Netflix are pushing the limits of how much content can be shuttled around the world each day.
Though satellite connections also exist, the vast majority of intercontinental traffic crosses a relatively small number of undersea cables—the arteries of the global internet.
data : CISCO
The map above, created with data from Telegeography, shows how those cables have developed since 1990. Most existing cables were constructed during a period of rapid growth in the mid-2000’s.
This was followed by a gap of several years during which companies steadily exhausted the available capacity.
Over the last few years, explosive new demand, driven by streaming video, has once again jumpstarted the the construction of new cables.Most cables are laid by consortiums of providers that work together to fund the projects and to negotiate with the countries where the cables “land.”
Typically the largest members of these groups are major internet providers, such as Level 3 and Verizon.
However, according to a Telegeography report (pdf), many cables under construction today are receiving significant funding from internet giants Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.
Those companies now consume so much bandwidth that they require dedicated connections across the ocean.
- GeoGarage blog : Photos of the submarine Internet cables the NSA ... / Submarine cable map 2016 /
- BuiltVisible : Messages in the Deep : The Remarkable Story of the Underwater Internet
- Atlantic cable : History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications, from the first submarine cable of 1850 to the worldwide fiber optic network (Submarine Cable Route Maps)
- Rumsey map collection : Via Eastern : the Eastern and Associated Telegraph Companies' cable system (1922)