These thin underwater cables are the circulatory system of the global internet — while we get our GIFs and videos from fiber optic cables and cellphone towers, high-speed international information is transferred almost entirely under the sea.
For all the talk of a wireless world, fiber optic cables are still the fastest way to move large amounts of information. Even though covering the ocean floor with cables is a complex, laborious task, it’s worth it for the gains in international communication speed.
It’s not a new idea, either — undersea cables have been around since the telegraph, with the first trans-Atlantic cable laid in 1858. Ever since we first developed electronic communication, we’ve sought new ways to shrink the time between two points. And the best and easiest way just happens to be underwater.