In our WiFi world, the internet still depends on undersea cables

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Undersea cables transport nearly 100% of transoceanic data traffic. These lines are laid on the very bottom of the ocean floor. They are about as thick as a garden hose and carry the world's internet, phone calls and even TV transmissions between continents at the speed of light. The biggest problem with cable systems is not technological it is human. Because they run underground, underwater and between telephone poles, cable systems populate the same spaces we do. As a result, we accidentally break them all the time. The International Cable Protection Committee has been working for years to prevent such breaks. As a result, cables today are covered in steel armour and buried beneath the seafloor at their shore ends, where the human threat is most concentrated. This provides some level of protection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Specialist publicationInternational Ocean Systems
StatePublished - May 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


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