Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Where Are the Internet's Wires?

I was randomly perusing the world wide web (okay, nothing I do is random), when I came across a remarkable essay on the actual physical network of wires and such comprising said web. Since I like to share, you might check it out here. Here's an excerpt in the meantime:
...a map of the United States, showing major fiber optic cable lines across the continental US in multiple colors and line patterns. Many parts of the country, especially in the midwest and intermountain west, had large areas where no fiberoptic lines ran, and great expanses of white space filled the map. Other states were more intensively wired.

Studying the pattern of the lines a bit closer, I noticed that the backbones of the Information Superhighway followed an interesting pattern, matching the Interstate Highway System. Makes sense, I suppose; easements are easier to obtain, and it’s simpler to lay new cable where there are no houses, business, or farms to disrupt and the highways already connect the major population centers...
But when the highway builders of fifty year ago planned their routes, where did they decide to lay these vast and endless ribbons of concrete ? Why, they ran them alongside the vast and endless ribbons of steel that had been laid down by their kindred spirits, the railroad builders, a century before.
It makes perfect sense that all the internet's cables and fiber optics would follow the Interstate Highways, doesn't it? And it makes perfect sense that the Interstates followed the railroad lines, doesn't it? And it makes perfect sense... aw heck, there's too much to tell. Go read it for yourself.
This guy did his homework.


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