Monday, April 02, 2018

The History of Undersea Cable Maps


Every year Telegeography release a new updated undersea cable map of the world. Last month they released their 2018 Submarine Cable Map. There are now around 428 submarine cables communicating data around the world. The total length of all these cables is about 1.1 million kilometers.

Of course this hasn't always been the case and the number of cables has grown in tandem with the growth of the Internet. Quartz has created an interactive map which shows this growth in undersea cables over the last 28 years. The Explosive Growth of Underwater Cables is an animated map which shows undersea cables being added around the globe every year since 1990.

Of course the Quartz map is a little misleading as it seems to suggest there were no underseas cables before 1990. In fact the first transatlantic undersea telegraph cable was laid in 1858. An undersea telegraph cable between Britain and France was laid before that in 1850.


The Eastern and Associated Telegraph Companies Cable System map of 1922 shows an extensive undersea telegraph cable system. Atlantic-Cable has compiled a collection of similar vintage maps of the world's undersea telegraph cable system from 1850 until 1992 - it therefore dovetails pretty neatly with the Quartz map of Internet fiber cables, starting in 1990.
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