Wired World: 35 Years of Submarine Cables in One Map - Visual Capitalist
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Wired World: 35 Years of Submarine Cables in One Map

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You could be reading this article from nearly anywhere in the world and there’s a good chance it loaded in mere seconds.

Long gone are the days when images would load pixel row by pixel row. Now, even high-quality video is instantly accessible from almost everywhere. How did the internet get so fast? Because it’s moving at the speed of light.

The Information Superhighway

The miracle of modern fiber optics can be traced to a single man, Narinder Singh Kapany. The young physicist was skeptical when his professors asserted that light ‘always travels in a straight line’. His explorations into the behavior of light eventually led to the creation of fiber optics—essentially, beaming light through a thin glass tube.

The next step to using fiber optics as a means of communication was lowering the cable’s attenuation rate. Throughout the 1960-70s, companies made gains in manufacturing, reducing the number of impurities and allowing light to cross great distances without a dramatic decrease in signal intensity.

By the mid-1980s, long distance fiber optic cables had finally reached the feasibility stage.

Crossing the Pond

The first intercontinental fiber optic cable was strung across the floor of the Atlantic Ocean in 1988. The cable—known as TAT-8*—was spearheaded by three companies; AT&T, France Télécom, and British Telecom. The cable was able to carry the equivalent of 40,000 telephone channels, a ten-fold increase over its galvanic predecessor, TAT-7.

Once the kinks of the new cable were worked out, the floodgates were open. During the course of the 1990s, many more cables hit the ocean floor. By the dawn of the new millennium, every populated continent on Earth was connected by fiber optic cables. The physical network of the internet was beginning to take shape.

As today’s video from ESRI shows, the early 2000s saw a boom in undersea cable development, reflecting the uptick in internet usage around globe. In 2001 alone, eight new cables connected North America and Europe.

From 2016-2020, over 100 new cables were laid with an estimated value of $14 billion. Now, even the most remote Polynesian islands have access to high-speed internet thanks to undersea cables.

*TAT-8 does not appear in the video above as it was retired in 2002.

The Shifting Nature of Cable Construction

Even though nearly every corner of the globe is now physically connected, the rate of cable construction is not slowing down.

This is due to the increasing capacity of new cables and our appetite for high-quality video content. New cables are so efficient that the majority of potential capacity along major cable routes will come from cables that are less than five years old.

Traditionally, a consortium of telecom companies or governments would fund cable construction, but tech companies are increasingly funding their own submarine cable networks.

tech company submarine cables

Source

Amazon, Microsoft and Google own close to 65% market share in cloud data storage, so it’s understandable that they’d want to control the physical means of transporting that data as well.

These three companies now own 63,605 miles of submarine cable. While laying cable is a costly endeavor, it’s necessary to meet surging demand—content providers’ share of data transmission skyrocketed from around 8% to nearly 40% over the past decade.

A Bright Future for Dark Fiber

At the same time, more aging cables will be taken offline. Even though signals are no longer traveling through this network of “dark fiber”, it’s still being put to productive use. It turns out that undersea telecom cables make a very effective seismic network, helping researchers study offshore earthquakes and the geologic structures on the ocean floor.

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Mapped: The Fastest (and Slowest) Internet Speeds in the World

Internet speeds vary depending on your location. Here’s a look at the countries with the fastest—and slowest—internet speeds worldwide.

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Internet Speeds

Mapped: The World’s Fastest (and Slowest) Internet Speeds

How quickly did this page load for you?

The answer depends on the device you’re using, and where in the world you’re located. Average internet speeds vary wildly from country to country.

Which countries have the fastest internet connection? Using data from the Speedtest Global Index™, this map ranks the fastest (and slowest) internet speeds worldwide, comparing both fixed broadband and mobile.

What Factors Affect Internet Speed?

Before diving in, it’s important to understand the key factors that impact a country’s internet speed. Generally speaking, internet speed depends on:

  1. Infrastructure or the type of cabling (copper or fiber-optic) that a country’s utilizing to support their internet service. Typically, the newer the infrastructure, the faster the connection.
  2. Proximity/connection to submarine cables is important, as these massive undersea fiber-optic cables transmit about 97% of the world’s communication data.
  3. The size of a country, since landmass affects how much it costs to upgrade infrastructure. The smaller the country, the cheaper it is to upgrade cabling.
  4. Investment makes a difference, or how much a country’s government prioritizes internet accessibility.

Of course, other factors may influence a country’s internet speed too, such as government regulation and intentional bandwidth throttling, which is the case in countries like Turkmenistan.

Ranked: Fixed Broadband Internet Speeds

The Speedtest Global Index uses data from hundreds of millions of people, in more than 190 countries, to measure both fixed broadband and mobile connections.

When it comes to the fastest fixed broadband, Singapore comes in first place, with a download speed of 262.2 mbps—more than double the global average.

#CountryGlobal Speed (Mbps)
1🇸🇬 Singapore262.2
2🇭🇰 Hong Kong254.4
3🇲🇨 Monaco242.9
4🇨🇭 Switzerland222.0
5🇹🇭 Thailand221.0
6🇷🇴 Romania217.9
7🇰🇷 South Korea216.7
8🇩🇰 Denmark216.13
9🇨🇱 Chile209.8
10🇫🇷 France201.6
11🇭🇺 Hungary201.55
12🇺🇸 United States199
13🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates195.11
14🇱🇮 Liechtenstein194.77
15🇨🇳 China193.15
16🇪🇸 Spain187.36
17🇯🇵 Japan180.35
18🇨🇦 Canada176.46
19🇱🇺 Luxembourg173.16
20🇲🇴 Macau (SAR)170.84
21🇸🇪 Sweden167.29
22🇮🇱 Israel164.24
23🇳🇿 New Zealand164.16
24🇳🇱 Netherlands161.85
25🇳🇴 Norway161.61
26🇹🇼 Taiwan152
27🇵🇱 Poland147.45
28🇵🇹 Portugal145.96
29🇦🇩 Andorra145.18
30🇲🇹 Malta142.07
31🇰🇼 Kuwait141.42
32🇲🇩 Moldova139.61
33🇱🇹 Lithuania135.65
34🇱🇻 Latvia133.91
35🇵🇦 Panama131.35
36🇫🇮 Finland131.02
37🇩🇪 Germany130.76
38🇧🇪 Belgium121.81
39🇮🇪 Ireland117.4
40🇸🇲 San Marino114.24
41🇸🇮 Slovenia111.74
42🇧🇧 Barbados110.25
43🇶🇦 Qatar109.57
44🇧🇷 Brazil108.88
45🇸🇰 Slovakia106.12
46🇲🇾 Malaysia103.28
47🇬🇧 United Kingdom95.79
48🇮🇹 Italy94.3
49🇦🇹 Austria93.77
50🇷🇺 Russia93.37
51🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia91.65
52🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago87.42
53🇨🇿 Czechia86.29
54🇦🇺 Australia85.57
55🇪🇪 Estonia82.82
56🇯🇴 Jordan82.44
57🇷🇸 Serbia80.59
58🇧🇬 Bulgaria79.19
59🇻🇳 Vietnam75.3
60🇧🇭 Bahrain74.21
61🇺🇦 Ukraine73.89
62🇵🇾 Paraguay72.94
63🇵🇭 Philippines72.56
64🇧🇾 Belarus68.84
65🇨🇴 Colombia68.44
66🇴🇲 Oman65.3
67🇬🇾 Guyana63.2
68🇮🇳 India62.45
69🇺🇾 Uruguay61.23
70🇰🇿 Kazakhstan61.05
71🇽🇰 Kosovo60.86
72🇵🇪 Peru57.97
73🇦🇷 Argentina57.49
74🇨🇷 Costa Rica57.27
75🇬🇩 Grenada56.44
76🇧🇸 The Bahamas55.89
77🇭🇷 Croatia55.36
78🇿🇦 South Africa53.6
79🇲🇽 Mexico53.04
80🇻🇨 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines50.8
81🇲🇳 Mongolia50.52
82🇨🇾 Cyprus50.45
83🇬🇭 Ghana49.55
84🇱🇨 Saint Lucia49.5
85🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan47.91
86🇲🇪 Montenegro47.39
87🇱🇦 Laos47.01
88🇲🇬 Madagascar45.98
89🇪🇬 Egypt44.09
90🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina43.1
91🇲🇭 Marshall Islands42.6
92🇦🇱 Albania41.47
93🇧🇿 Belize41.45
94🇺🇿 Uzbekistan40.64
95🇹🇷 Turkey40.58
96🇯🇲 Jamaica40
97🇧🇩 Bangladesh38.98
98🇲🇰 North Macedonia38.84
99🇪🇨 Ecuador37.53
100🇦🇲 Armenia37.21
101🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire35.41
102🇬🇷 Greece35.03
103🇸🇳 Senegal34.68
104🇩🇲 Dominica34.42
105🇧🇳 Brunei33.94
106🇹🇯 Tajikistan33.85
107🇸🇨 Seychelles33.27
108🇮🇶 Iraq33.13
109🇰🇳 Saint Kitts and Nevis32.78
110🇩🇴 Dominican Republic31.85
111🇳🇵 Nepal30.49
112🇳🇮 Nicaragua30.26
113🇧🇴 Bolivia27.06
114🇮🇩 Indonesia26.95
115🇬🇪 Georgia26.73
116🇸🇻 El Salvador26.41
117🇲🇦 Morocco26.4
118🇭🇳 Honduras26.17
119🇱🇰 Sri Lanka26.05
120🇰🇭 Cambodia25.82
121🇱🇷 Liberia25.65
122🇱🇸 Lesotho25.59
123🇧🇫 Burkina Faso25.52
124🇦🇿 Azerbaijan25.36
125🇵🇸 Palestine25.02
126🇨🇬 Congo (Brazzaville)24.12
127🇲🇺 Mauritius23.87
128🇪🇭 Western Sahara23.84
129🇬🇹 Guatemala23.82
130🇨🇻 Cape Verde23.78
131🇲🇻 Maldives23.72
132🇻🇪 Venezuela22.33
133🇧🇹 Bhutan21.79
134🇮🇷 Iran21.35
135🇫🇯 Fiji21.28
136🇬🇦 Gabon20.62
137🇹🇬 Togo20.61
138🇲🇱 Mali19.99
139🇲🇲 Republic of the Union of Myanmar19.78
140🇷🇼 Rwanda18.45
141🇳🇦 Namibia18.16
142🇳🇬 Nigeria18.15
143🇹🇿 Tanzania17.93
144🇩🇯 Djibouti17.75
145🇰🇪 Kenya17.41
146🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda17.11
147🇱🇧 Lebanon16.9
148🇧🇯 Benin16.81
149🇨🇲 Cameroon16.6
150🇫🇲 Micronesia16.56
151🇱🇾 Libya16.53
152🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea16.4
153🇻🇺 Vanuatu15.44
154🇦🇴 Angola15.04
155🇭🇹 Haiti14.93
156🇸🇷 Suriname14.93
157🇿🇼 Zimbabwe14.86
158🇸🇴 Somalia14.66
159🇺🇬 Uganda14.62
160🇪🇹 Ethiopia14.44
161🇲🇼 Malawi13.72
162🇵🇰 Pakistan13.5
163🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea12.17
164🇸🇱 Sierra Leone12.13
165🇨🇩 DR Congo11.46
166🇲🇷 Mauritania11.08
167🇸🇾 Syria10.73
168🇿🇲 Zambia10.69
169🇸🇿 Swaziland (Eswatini)10.62
170🇧🇼 Botswana10.35
171🇹🇳 Tunisia10.3
172🇬🇲 The Gambia10.09
173🇩🇿 Algeria9.95
174🇧🇮 Burundi9.72
175🇦🇫 Afghanistan9.23
176🇸🇩 Sudan9.02
177🇲🇿 Mozambique8.84
178🇾🇪 Yemen5.95
179🇹🇲 Turkmenistan4.49
180🇨🇺 Cuba3.46

Size could be a factor in Singapore’s speedy internet, as it’s one of the smallest
and also densest countries in the world. With a landmass of just 280 square miles, it’s around the same size as Austin, Texas.

The country’s government has also prioritized investment in digital infrastructure, especially in recent years. In 2020, the Singaporean government promised to invest $2.52 billion towards digital innovation, with a portion dedicated to upgrading the country’s telecom infrastructure.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Cuba has the slowest fixed broadband, with a speed of 3.46 mbps. Along with poor government funding, Cuba also has limited access to submarine cables. While most countries are connected to several, Cuba is only connected to one.

Ranked: Mobile Internet Speeds

Mobile internet uses cell towers to wirelessly transmit internet to your phone. Because of this extra element, the ranking for mobile internet speeds varies from fixed broadband.

#CountryGlobal Speed (Mbps)
1🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates195.52
2🇰🇷 South Korea192.16
3🇳🇴 Norway173.54
4🇶🇦 Qatar169.17
5🇨🇳 China163.45
6🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia149.95
7🇰🇼 Kuwait141.46
8🇨🇾 Cyprus136.18
9🇦🇺 Australia126.97
10🇧🇬 Bulgaria126.21
11🇨🇭 Switzerland115.83
12🇱🇺 Luxembourg110.67
13🇩🇰 Denmark103.35
14🇳🇱 Netherlands100.48
15🇴🇲 Oman97.81
16🇸🇪 Sweden97.06
17🇺🇸 United States96.31
18🇸🇬 Singapore91.75
19🇨🇦 Canada87.65
20🇫🇮 Finland83.01
21🇧🇭 Bahrain81.54
22🇹🇼 Taiwan81.32
23🇬🇧 United Kingdom80.82
24🇭🇷 Croatia78.91
25🇭🇰 Hong Kong78.75
26🇩🇪 Germany75.67
27🇳🇿 New Zealand73.17
28🇫🇷 France72.47
29🇬🇷 Greece70.71
30🇪🇪 Estonia70.44
31🇧🇪 Belgium70.24
32🇦🇹 Austria66.38
33🇱🇹 Lithuania63.03
34🇲🇴 Macau (SAR)62.43
35🇲🇹 Malta62.1
36🇧🇳 Brunei61.85
37🇯🇵 Japan61.32
38🇭🇺 Hungary58.9
39🇨🇿 Czechia58.46
40🇲🇻 Maldives58.3
41🇸🇮 Slovenia57.52
42🇲🇰 North Macedonia57.37
43🇷🇴 Romania55.93
44🇮🇪 Ireland55.39
45🇵🇱 Poland52.28
46🇸🇰 Slovakia51.49
47🇿🇦 South Africa50.44
48🇷🇸 Serbia50.34
49🇦🇱 Albania49.82
50🇹🇭 Thailand49.37
51🇪🇸 Spain48.14
52🇮🇹 Italy47.51
53🇹🇷 Turkey47.43
54🇮🇱 Israel46.02
55🇱🇻 Latvia45.29
56🇵🇹 Portugal43.41
57🇻🇳 Vietnam41.16
58🇲🇩 Moldova40.64
59🇹🇬 Togo40.32
60🇮🇶 Iraq40.21
61🇸🇷 Suriname39.54
62🇦🇿 Azerbaijan39.25
63🇺🇾 Uruguay39.04
64🇲🇱 Mali38.84
65🇲🇦 Morocco37.63
66🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago37.54
67🇯🇲 Jamaica36.77
68🇬🇪 Georgia36.53
69🇧🇼 Botswana35.38
70🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina34.97
71🇲🇽 Mexico34.49
72🇨🇷 Costa Rica34.39
73🇵🇭 Philippines33.77
74🇦🇲 Armenia33.71
75🇧🇷 Brazil33.47
76🇲🇺 Mauritius33.32
77🇹🇳 Tunisia33.01
78🇧🇸 The Bahamas32.63
79🇨🇲 Cameroon32.46
80🇮🇷 Iran32.3
81🇱🇧 Lebanon32.06
82🇱🇦 Laos32.04
83🇰🇿 Kazakhstan31.81
84🇺🇦 Ukraine31.2
85🇩🇴 Dominican Republic31.07
86🇬🇹 Guatemala30
87🇦🇷 Argentina29.6
88🇲🇪 Montenegro29.14
89🇲🇾 Malaysia29.14
90🇭🇳 Honduras28.69
91🇽🇰 Kosovo28.5
92🇷🇺 Russia28.16
93🇲🇲 Republic of the Union of Myanmar27.94
94🇯🇴 Jordan26.51
95🇫🇯 Fiji26.45
96🇳🇮 Nicaragua26
97🇵🇪 Peru25.46
98🇨🇺 Cuba25.21
99🇸🇻 El Salvador25.17
100🇪🇨 Ecuador24.98
101🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan24.95
102🇪🇬 Egypt24.48
103🇦🇴 Angola23.98
104🇰🇭 Cambodia23.71
105🇳🇬 Nigeria23.59
106🇪🇹 Ethiopia23.19
107🇧🇴 Bolivia23.17
108🇲🇳 Mongolia23.11
109🇭🇹 Haiti22.52
110🇸🇳 Senegal22.48
111🇰🇪 Kenya22.22
112🇮🇩 Indonesia21.96
113🇨🇱 Chile21.28
114🇳🇵 Nepal20.9
115🇵🇾 Paraguay20.8
116🇳🇦 Namibia20.74
117🇲🇿 Mozambique20.55
118🇵🇦 Panama20.44
119🇸🇾 Syria20.09
120🇵🇰 Pakistan19.79
121🇺🇬 Uganda18.97
122🇺🇿 Uzbekistan18.92
123🇨🇴 Colombia18.67
124🇧🇾 Belarus18.66
125🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire18.37
126🇮🇳 India17.96
127🇩🇿 Algeria17.31
128🇱🇾 Libya17.22
129🇿🇲 Zambia16.05
130🇱🇰 Sri Lanka16.02
131🇹🇯 Tajikistan15.7
132🇸🇩 Sudan15.66
133🇹🇿 Tanzania14.48
134🇸🇴 Somalia14.23
135🇿🇼 Zimbabwe13.71
136🇬🇭 Ghana13.17
137🇧🇩 Bangladesh12.92
138🇵🇸 Palestine8.11
139🇻🇪 Venezuela7.41
140🇦🇫 Afghanistan7.07

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is first on the list, with a download speed of 195.5 mbps. Not only is mobile data fast in the UAE, it’s also relatively cheap, compared to other countries on the ranking. The average cost of 1 GB of data in the UAE is around $3.78, while in South Korea (#2 on the list) it’s $10.94.

The Future is 5G

Innovation and new technologies are changing the digital landscape, and things like 5G networks are becoming more mainstream across the globe.

Because of the rapidly changing nature of this industry, the data behind this ranking is updated monthly to provide the latest look at internet speeds across the globe.

This means the bar is gradually raising when it comes to internet speed, as faster, stronger internet connections become the norm. And countries that aren’t equipped to handle these souped-up networks will lag behind even further.

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Ranked: Big Tech CEO Insider Trading During the First Half of 2021

Big Tech is worth trillions, but what are insiders doing with their stock? We breakdown Big Tech CEO insider trading during the first half of 2021.

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Big Tech CEO Insider Trading During The First Half of 2021

When CEOs of major companies are selling their shares, investors can’t help but notice.

After all, these decisions have a direct effect on the personal wealth of these insiders, which can say plenty about their convictions with respect to the future direction of the companies they run.

Considering that Big Tech stocks are some of the most popular holdings in today’s portfolios, and are backed by a collective $5.3 trillion in institutional investment, how do the CEOs of these organizations rank by their insider selling?

CEOStockShares Sold H1 2021Value of Shares ($M)
Jeff BezosAmazon (AMZN)2.0 million$6,600
Mark ZuckerbergFacebook (FB)7.1 million$2,200
Satya NadellaMicrosoft (MSFT)278,694
$65
Sundar PichaiGoogle (GOOGL)27,000$62
Tim CookApple (AAPL)0$0

Breaking Down Insider Trading, by CEO

Let’s dive into the insider trading activity of each Big Tech CEO:

Jeff Bezos

During the first half of 2021, Jeff Bezos sold 2 million shares of Amazon worth $6.6 billion.

This activity was spread across 15 different transactions, representing an average of $440 million per transaction. Altogether, this ranks him first by CEO insider selling, by total dollar proceeds. Bezos’s time as CEO of Amazon came to an end shortly after the half way mark for the year.

Mark Zuckerberg

In second place is Mark Zuckerberg, who has been significantly busier selling than the rest.

In the first half of 2021, he unloaded 7.1 million shares of Facebook onto the open market, worth $2.2 billion. What makes these transactions interesting is the sheer quantity of them, as he sold on 136 out of 180 days. On average, that’s $12 million worth of stock sold every day.

Zuckerberg’s record year of selling in 2018 resulted in over $5 billion worth of stock sold, but over 90% of his net worth still remains in the company.

Satya Nadella

Next is Satya Nadella, who sold 278,694 shares of Microsoft, worth $234 million. Despite this, the Microsoft CEO still holds an estimated 1.6 million shares, which is the largest of any insider.

Microsoft’s stock has been on a tear for a number of years now, and belongs to an elite trillion dollar club, which consists of only six public companies.

Sundar Pichai

Fourth on the list is Sundar Pichai who has been at the helm at Google for six years now. Since the start of 2021, he’s sold 27,000 shares through nine separate transactions, worth $62.5 million. However, Pichai still has an estimated 6,407 Class A and 114,861 Class C shares.

Google is closing in on a $2 trillion valuation and is the best performing Big Tech stock, with shares rising 60% year-to-date. Their market share growth from U.S. ad revenues is a large contributing factor.

Tim Cook

Last, is Tim Cook, who just surpassed a decade as Apple CEO.

During this time, shares have rallied over 1,000% and annual sales have gone from $100 billion to $347 billion. That said, Cook has sold 0 shares of Apple during the first half of 2021. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t sold shares elsewhere, though. Cook also sits on the board of directors for Nike, and has sold $6.9 million worth of shares this year.

Measuring Insider Selling

All things equal, it’s desirable for management to have skin in the game, and be invested alongside shareholders. It can also be seen as aligning long-term interests.

A good measure of insider selling activity is in relation to the existing stake in the company. For example, selling $6.6 billion worth of shares may sound like a lot, but when there are 51.7 million Amazon shares remaining for Jeff Bezos, it actually represents a small portion and is probably not cause for panic.

If, however, executives are disclosing large transactions relative to their total stakes, it might be worth digging deeper.

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