The Internet's undersea world
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The vast majority of the world's communication are not carried by
satellites but an altogether older technology: cables under the earth's
ocean. As a ship accidentally wipes out Asia's net access, this map
shows how we rely on collections of wires of less than 10cm diameter to
link us all together.
Dubai has been hit hard by an Internet outage apparently caused by a cut undersea cable.
The pair of cables which lie near each other on the floor of the Mediterranean Sea — at some points are no thicker than the average human thumb. The breakage caused problems across an area thousands of kilometres wide, with India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain all reporting trouble.
Ships have been dispatched to repair two undersea cables damaged on Wednesday off Egypt.
FLAG Telecom, which owns one of the cables, said repairs were expected to be completed by February 12. France Telecom, part owner of the other cable, said it was uncertain when repairs on it would be repaired.
Such large-scale disruptions are rare but not unknown. East Asia suffered nearly two months of outages and slow service after an earthquake damaged undersea cables near Taiwan in 2006.