Alfonso Desiderio, a journalist of Italian geopolitics magazine Limes, recently published an interesting piece on the submarine cables infrastructure that supports the diffusion of the immaterial informations via telephone or internet.
He asserts that the phisycality of internet’s skeleton implies the same technical problems of every communication and transport infrastructures, namely (our translation): “strategical bottlenecks, the possibility of structural sabotage by governments, terrorists etc. for whatever the purpose, political and economical competition towards the management, the legislation and the geographical positioning of the cables, for reasons of power or money.”
He also adds: “So do not forget that the Internet wars – like the one already under way against Iran, will be fought more and more not only on the virtual plane but also on the real one and the immateriality of the network is not so predictable and guaranteed as it may seem.”
After reading Desiderio’s article, Sabrina Campagna collected a series of international submarine maps, documenting the impressive development of undersea communication structures from 1857 to present-day.
All maps and refences until 1992 are courtesy of the ‘History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications’ site. Posterior maps are from the ‘Telegeography‘ site.
Further read (in Italian): “Internet e la battaglia del Mediterraneo, Conversazione con Renzo Ravaglia (Interoute)” “(Internet and the battle on the Mediterranean sea, a conversation with Renzo Ravaglia of Interoute)”
More on the 2012 Submarine Cable Map
Vertical section of the bed of the Atlantic Ocean,
from Valencia, Ireland, to Trinity Bay, Newfoundland,(on line C.D of chart above) showing Soundings made by Lieut. Dayman in H.M.S. Cyclops, 1857, for laying the Atlantic Telegraph Cable. (The Vertical scale, showing depths of soundings, is about 72 times greater than the longitudinal scale.)
Map of the 1858 Atlantic Cable route from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, August 21, 1858
Another map of the 1858 Atlantic Cable route. Although no publisher is shown on this map, another copy is marked: “Korff Brothers. Practical Lithographers, 54 William Street, New York”
Map of the Telegraph Plateau, from Maury’s Physical Geography of the Sea (1869 edition), showing the routes of the 1858 Atlantic Cable and the proposed 1869 French cable
1865: Map Shewing the Atlantic Telegraph and other Submarine Cables in Europe and America from The Atlantic Telegraph. Note also the route of Tal Shaffner’s proposed northern cable.
1865: Chart of the World Showing the Proposed Submarine & Land Telegraphs Round the World from The Atlantic Telegraph.
c. 1870 Map showing the telegraph lines in operation, under contract, and contemplated, to complete the circuit of the globe / entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1855 by J.H. Colton & Co. in the Clerks Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York. 41cm x 63cm. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, call number G3201.P92 1855 .J51
Note: This Colton world map is dated 1855, but it was re-issued about 1870 with the cable lines added, together with a new title and caption. Evidence for this is that one submarine cable, from France to North America, is shown as “in operation;” this cable was laid in 1869.
1893 map of North Atlantic cables (center section omitted), from Charles Bright’s Submarine Telegraphs
1901 Eastern Telegraph Company System Map from A.B.C. Telegraphic Code 5th Edition
1902 British All Red Line map, from Johnson’s The All Red Line – The Annals and Aims of the Pacific Cable Project
1903 Map: Telegraph Construction & Maintenance Co Ltd Showing submarine telegraph cables the cores of which were manufactured at The Gutta Percha Works, Wharf Road, City Road, London N.
1922 Eastern & Associated Route Map
1924 International Cables map from Schreiner: Cables and Wireless
1924: The Eastern Associated Telegraph Companies’ Cable System map
Cable and Wireless “Via Imperial” map. undated, but post-1935. Courtesy of Anita Fuller, whose father, Colin Hugh Thomas, worked for Cable and Wireless for almost forty years
1947 Cable and Wireless “Via Imperial” map from Press Handbook, Third Edition
1982 Pacific region cable map
1983 MedArabTel map of the existing and planned telecommunication network in the Middle East and Mediterranean regions
1983 PanAfTel map – PanAfrican Telecommunication Network
1991 Hong Kong Telecom map of Asian cables
1992 British Telecomm map of Communications – Around the World
Submarine Cable Map 2000
Submarine Cable Map 2004
Submarine Cable Map 2008
Submarine Cable Map 2009
Submarine Cable Map 2010
Submarine Cable Map 2012
Submarine cable repair