The Backbone of the Internet

Source: TeleGeography and NEC Published: March 2019

Source: TeleGeography and NEC
Published: March 2019

The Backbone of the Internet

Circulated: January 2, 2020

In 1858 a 4,000 kilometer (2,500 mile) long and 1.5 centimeter (0.6 inch) wide cable linked Europe and North America by telegraph. U.S. President James Buchanan hailed the effort as a “triumph more glorious than was ever won by conqueror on the field of battle”. (CNN)

Undersea cables are the backbone of the Internet today:

  • 99% of all international data is transmitted via undersea cables.

  • The cable between Japan and the U.S. is 8,000 meters (5 miles) below sea level. That’s the height of Mount Everest!

  • Today there are around 380 undersea cables in operation around the world.

  • Cables were traditionally owned by telecom carriers. In recent years Big Tech became major investors:
    - Google — 7 cable investments
    - Microsoft — 4
    - Facebook — 3
    - Amazon — 1