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Landing Sites, Internet’s Achilles Heel of the Internet?

For a student final dissertation TV documentary short, 10 minutes, I have ended up choosing to investigate whether the landing stations for trans-atlantic cables are the achilles heel of the internet.

As an outsider to the world of internet infrastructure I have been struck by how easy it has been to identify the landing stations in Cornwall and the cables that enter them. (Thank you Google for the aerial photographs)

What would the consequences be if all the Cornish landing stations were put out of action?

With the ever increasing demand for bandwidth will the trans-atlantic cables be ‘full’ by 2014 as some predict? If the cables are maxing out the loss of the landing stations would presumably be catastrophic.

For the documentary I need help to home in on the saliant points, thus any input will be most welcome.

Additionally the documentary needs on camera interviews with people in the industry who have opinions about the vulnerability of the landing stations. Realising the sensitive nature of this issue the interviews can be filmed anonymously i.e. face and voice disguised.

By Michael Trezise Perks, TV Production student undertaking a documentary on transatlantic cable security

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Don't get your hopes up John Levine  –  Oct 26, 2010 12:17 AM

I happen to be familiar with the landing sites for several of the cables that land in New Jersey. TAT-9 and TAT-11 cross Long Beach Island, a narrow barrier island full of summer homes, a block south of our house, then cross Barnegat Bay on their way to the landing station in Manahawkin. There are large faded AT&T;signs on both sides of the island saying don’t anchor, and call AT&T;before digging. There are small signs near the manholes on the street with similar call language. A few miles south in Beach Haven, TAT-14 crosses the island, with similar signs, on its way to the landing station in Tuckerton. I presume the cables are buried fairly deep, but it’s all just sand. In the winter there are very few people on the island, many of the ones who are their are doing construction, and a bad guy would not have a lot of trouble digging up a cable on the beach before anyone noticed something odd going on.

I wouldn't say Achilles Heel.... McTim  –  Oct 26, 2010 6:27 PM

While landing stations are important, cable (land and sea) cuts happen all the time, traffic just gets rerouted.  There would be disruption, but not catastrophic disruption.  TeleGeography has lots of maps to show where the traffic could be rerouted via European routes..

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