Undersea Cabling | World | Internet | 05th September 2022 | Virtual Wire
Today, I can talk to my friend in New Zealand on social media or Whatsapp.
I can also call a friend of mine from Brazil. But Have you ever wondered how we are able to communicate with each other on the internet or on the phone? The answer is that vast, invisible cables underwater make communication possible. July 29, 1858, was a critical day in the history of communication. Two steam-powered battleships met in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. There, they connected two ends of a 4,000-kilometre (2,500 miles) long, 1.5 centimetres wide cable, linking for the first time the European and North American continents by telegraph. Just over two weeks later, the UK's Queen Victoria sent a congratulatory message to US President James Buchanan, followed by a parade through the streets of New York, featuring a replica of a ship that helped lay the cable and fireworks over City Hall. Their inaugural messages took over 17 hours to deliver, at 2 minutes and 5 seconds per letter by Morse code, and the cable operated for less than a month due to a variety of technical failures, but a global communications revolution had begun. In 1956, Transatlantic No. 1 (TAT-1), the first underwater telephone cable, was laid.
In 2018, the Marea cable began operating between Bilbao, Spain, and the US state of Virginia, with transmission speeds of up to 160 terabits per second -- 16 million times faster than the average home internet connection. Today, there are around 380 underwater cables in operation around the world, spanning a length of over 1.2 million kilometres. Underwater cables are the invisible force driving the modern internet, with many in recent years funded by internet giants such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Amazon. They carry almost all our communications and enable us to have a wireless network. I think only a tiny per cent of people are aware that they exist.