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VIDEO – Lovely Animated Map of the Worlds Undersea Fibre Optic Cables

Friday, September 18th, 2015 (8:18 am) - Score 2,767

It’s a Friday morning, so what better way to start the day than by showing off a new video from Business Insider and TeleGeography, which depicts in colourful fashion all of the many high-capacity undersea fibre optic cables that help to connect this world of ours to the Internet.

At this point it’s worth noting that the first transatlantic “telegraph cable” was laid in 1858 by a businessman called Cyrus West Field, although the link only worked for three weeks and it wasn’t until the mid-1860s that more successful attempts were made. Prior to that a number of significantly shorter cables had already been successfully deployed, such as in the English Channel.

The rapid growth in international telecommunications services soon meant that old fashioned metal wires were struggling to get the job done. Thankfully the invention of fibre optic cables in the 1980s gave rise to a new breed of connectivity, which was followed in 1988 by the first transatlantic optical fibre connection (TAT-8).

The name TAT-8 reflects the fact that, at the time, it was the 8th transatlantic communications cable in operation. The cable could initially carry 40,000 telephone circuits (simultaneous calls) between the USA, England and France, but even then it wasn’t cheap to build and attracted a total cost of around £215 million.

The cable, which contained two working pairs of optical fibres, with a third in reserve, remained in service until 2002. Today all modern undersea cables use optical fibre technology to carry digital data. The cables themselves also need to be armour (pictured top-left) in order to withstand the environment and other problems, such as the threat of damage from fishing trawlers and or becoming a shark’s favourite chew toy. Now for the video..

Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Avatar AndrewH says:

    25,000 feet below the surface????!!!!!!!!
    Good god, I wouldn’t want to have to go down and splice one of those together if it broke!!!
    🙂

    Brilliant Video.

  2. Avatar Bob2002 says:

    You can still buy pieces of the original 1850s telegraph cables on eBay if you keep your eyes peeled –

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Tiffany-Transatlantic-Cable-Souvenir-with-letter-Mounted-/321848584070?hash=item4aefaba786

  3. Avatar JamesM says:

    Anyone remember the days when your biggest problem was when your bike broke? Too much reliance on tech these days. When I was a lad the TV was coming out in black and while let along the internet.

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Indeed, when the Internet breaks/get’s attacked society won’t be far behind it 🙂

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