The global internet is powered by vast undersea cables. But they're vulnerable.


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Dec 30, 2012
On July 29, 1858, two steam-powered battleships met in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. There, they connected two ends of a 4,000 kilometer (2,500 mile) long, 1.5 centimeter (0.6 inch) wide cable, linking for the first time the European and North American continents by telegraph.
Just over two weeks later, the UK's Queen Victoria sent a congratulatory message to then US President James Buchanan, which was followed by a parade through the streets of New York, featuring a replica of a ship which helped lay the cable and fireworks over City Hall.
In their inaugural cables, Queen Victoria hailed the "great international work" by the two countries, the culmination of almost two decades of effort, while Buchanan lauded a "triumph more glorious, because far more useful to mankind, than was ever won by conqueror on the field of battle.
The message took over 17 hours to deliver, at 2 minutes and 5 seconds per letter by Morse code, and the cable operated for less than a month due to a variety of technical failures, but a global communications revolution had begun.

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