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Great news for connectivity connoisseurs: the analyst firm TeleGeography just published this year’s edition of its world map, featuring all the submarine cable systems that comprise the arteries of the internet.
The map also shows the cables’ landing points (easier to see if you zoom in on the interactive version), which is handy for those who take an interest in the current surveillance scandal. Why is British intelligence so good at tapping cables? Here’s why – so many of them pass through the U.K.:
The 2014 edition includes 263 cables that are lit (in service), and 22 that should be lit by the end of 2015, so 285 cable systems in total. Last year’s map showed 244 cables, and the year before that just 150, so the cable-laying boom of a few years back has definitely slowed down.
Unfortunately this year’s edition lacks a neat feature of Telegeography’s 2012 and 2013 maps, which was a breakdown of how much of the cable systems’ capacity is actually being used. It also doesn’t have the 2013 edition’s Olde Worlde appeal. On the plus side, it does offer a good breakdown of cable faults over recent years, cable-laying ships and maintenance zones, if that’s your thing.
One cable system that’s not on the map, probably because it will only go live in 2016, is the Asia Africa Europe-1 (AAE-1) cable that was detailed on Tuesday. AAE-1 will run from South-East Asia to Africa and Europe via the Middle East, and yesterday the backing consortium announced membership including the likes of China Unicom, PCCW, Etisalat and Ooredoo.