from the cable-comrade?-what-cable? dept.
The UK's most senior military officer has warned of a new threat posed by Russia to communications and internet cables that run under the sea. Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, the chief of the defence staff, said Britain and Nato needed to prioritise protecting the lines of communication. He said it would be an "immediately and potentially catastrophic" hit to the economy if they were cut or disrupted.
The cables criss-cross the seabed, connecting up countries and continents. [...] Speaking to the Royal United Services Institute defence think tank, Sir Stuart said the vulnerability of undersea lines posed a "new risk to our way of life".
Related: Brazil, Europe Direct Cable to avoid US spying
Undersea Cables Wiring the Earth
Spies Would Need SUPER POWERS to Tap Undersea Cables.
160 Tbps Transatlantic Cable Planned
Microsoft, Facebook, and Telxius Complete 160 Tb/s Atlantic Ocean Cable
(Reuters) Brazil and the European Union agreed on Monday to lay an undersea communications cable from Lisbon to Fortaleza to reduce Brazil's reliance on the United States after Washington spied on Brasilia.
At a summit in Brussels, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said the $185 million cable project was central to "guarantee the neutrality" of the Internet, signaling her desire to shield Brazil's Internet traffic from U.S. surveillance. According to other sources, the construction is scheduled to begin in July.
A joint venture between Brazilian telecoms provider Telebras and Spain's IslaLink Submarine Cables would lay the communications link. Telebras would have a 35 percent stake, IslaLink would have a 45 percent interest and European and Brazilian pension funds could put up the remainder.
"All of the fiber-optic cables buried in the sea bed are logged by Washington research firm Telegeography in an interactive Submarine Cable Map. The company's research director Alan Mauldin told CNN about the world's underwater networks."
From the interview:
for international communications, over 99% is delivered by undersea cables.
75% of faults are due to external aggression the majority through human activity such as fishing, and ship's anchors.
There are about 13 cables in service across the Atlantic, and less than 20% of potential capacity is what we call "lit" or in service right now.
cables are designed to last for a minimum 25 years.
Once you build a cable the cost of buying capacity incrementally over time is very affordable.
The last cable across the Pacific cost $300 million; one cable that entered service last year in Asia reaching many locations cost $400 million
The Register has found itself subject to a certain amount of criticism for this author's skepticism ( Richard Chirgwin http://www.theregister.co.uk/Author/2242 ) regarding whether the NSA has been snooping on optical fibre cables by cutting them.
Glenn Greenwald's recent “NSA cut New Zealand's cables” story is illustrative of credibility problems that surround the ongoing Edward Snowden leak stories: everybody is too willing to accept that “if it's classified, it must be because it's true”, and along the way, attribute super-powers to spy agencies.
In running the line that undersea cables were cut, Greenwald is straying far enough from what's feasible and credible that his judgement on other claims needs to be questioned. It seems to The Register almost certain that neither Glenn Greenwald nor Edward Snowden have actually held a submarine fibre cable in their hands.
Do you think that it is credible that these undersea fibre cables were tapped when it is easier to tap onshore installations?
Geekwire reports on a post on Microsoft's corporate blog in which plans for a transatlantic communications cable are announced. The cable will connect Bilbao in Spain to Virginia Beach, Virginia in the USA. Construction is set to begin in August. The planned capacity of 160 Tbps would, according to the blog post, exceed that of any existing transatlantic cable. The project is to be a joint venture of Microsoft with Facebook, and is to be operated by the Telxius arm of Telefónica.
From the Geekwire article:
Microsoft and Facebook will place a cutting-edge undersea cable across the Atlantic Ocean, stretching 6,600 kilometers or more than 4,100 miles from Virginia Beach, Va., to Bilbao, Spain, capable of hurtling data under the ocean at speeds of 160 Terabits per second.
The companies say the new project, called Marea, will be the highest-capacity subsea cable ever placed across the Atlantic, the first to connect the U.S. to southern Europe. Construction will begin in August 2016, with completion scheduled for October 2017, the companies say.
"We're seeing an ever-increasing customer demand for high speed, reliable connections for Microsoft cloud services, including Bing, Office 365, Skype, Xbox Live, and Microsoft Azure," said Microsoft's Frank Rey in a post announcing the plan.
The Marea cable's new "open" design allows it to evolve with technology, ensuring the highest performance for users now and well into the future, even as the global population of internet users grows. And make no mistake, the demand is growing. Just think of the many high-bandwidth applications and content you use today such as Skype and Facebook Live, and the volume of streaming videos, movies and music consumed daily. This ability to interoperate with many different kinds of networking equipment brings significant benefits including lower costs and easier equipment upgrades, leading to faster growth in bandwidth rates.
Completed in less than two years — nearly three times faster than is typical — Marea is a powerful example of the important role the private sector has to play in connecting the world. It also set a new standard for subsea cables because it is designed to meet today's demand and evolve with the progress of tomorrow, allowing companies offering digital services to be better equipped to handle cross-border internet traffic, which is expected to increase eightfold by 2025.