There is an understandable assumption that the Internet is via satellite. Not so. The vast majority of what has been called the “Information Highway” is basically just that; or perhaps more accurately an Internet “Subway”. Five hundred thousand miles of fiber optic threads lace up the Seven league Boots of communication as it bestrides the world in milliseconds.
The particular view shown here centers on the South China Sea. The far left shows the route emerging fron the Red Sea via the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal, and above it the Persian Gulf via the Oman Peninsula on its way to Mumbai. In the center, the Strait of Malacca with Singapore at its lower tip. To the right, at a center of that web is Guam with Hawaii just on the far horizon. Then of course Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan. Those of you interested in the Spratly and Paracel Islands in the South China Sea will note the main lines branch and pass through those shallow areas. No surprise that while several nations claim those areas, China has penciled in as its “core interest”.
The green area in this next image is what China has stated to be of “Core Interest”, basically all of the Yellow Sea to the Korean Peninsula, the East China Sea and the South China Sea. It runs along what China is calling its “First Island Chain”.
The red line is the “Second Island Chain”. It is an area China regards as being of special interest. It goes right out to the shores of Guam, sweeping over all of Japan’s southern islands, including Okinawa.
A look back at the map of fiber optic cables is rather thought provoking.
The first image mapping the cables is from: http://www.cablemap.info/ , a remarkable site for visualizing the global fiber optic network. Be sure to visit it. A Mr. Greg Mahlknech has done a herculean job of cross referencing data sources to make a real eye-popping compendium of the world’s fiber optic communication companies and their present and proposed cable networks. This illustration is just a simplified version.
The second “Core Interest” image by the author.