Yesterday and today, huge regions in Asia, Africa and the Middle East are suffering internet blackouts after two long, underwater fiber optic cables were severed, probably due to human error. One of the cables was the famous 17,000 mile FLAG cable, whose route from Japan around the Middle East to Europe you can see in the map above (it even goes through the Suez Canal). The worst part? According to Ryan Singel of Threat Level, this kind of outage likely represents the future of the global internet.
Given the desire by telecoms and broadband customers to keep costs low, situations like the current cuts will continue to happen, according to Todd Underwood, a Vice President at Renesys, which provides internet information analysis to the majority of the world's largest telecoms. "Part of the lesson here is that there will always be outages," Underwood said. "This is all about money — how much money do we want to pay to make sure the network doesn't go down? We are used to thinking of the internet as being a thing that goes down."
He adds that similar outages that occurred in China, due to mudslides, lasted for almost a month and a half, and resulted in major rerouting of major parts of international network traffic. The solution is obviously building more redundancy into the network, but cost-cutting makes this a less likely scenario than constant network outages in huge parts of the world. Farewell to that global info-community. And hello to the info-dystopia.
Fiber Optic Cabel Cuts Isolate Millions from Internet [Threat Level]