The ever increasing internet and what it means for the future
The internet is growing at a vast rate, not just from current users, but also from new internet users. Every year more people will get connected and tech giants are aware of this. Around 46% of the world’s 7 billion population use the internet today, that’s around 3 billion people. Therefore, we can assume that 50% will soon be connected. China (52% of their population), India (40% of their population) and the US (89%) have the most internet users. As more countries become increasingly developed such as more Asian and African countries, internet usage will increase. This growth needs to be facilitated so it remains fast and efficient for the billions of users worldwide, and so the internet reaches more remote locations. One way we are planning for the future is with more undersea cables. This has already been used for years and its aim is to use available space on underwater sea beds for our internet connection needs. Cheaper than satellites but still expensive, these cables can last for 25 years and require a lot of time to install.
This chart shows the amount of internet users in each part of the world; darker patches mean a bigger concentration of users.
Tech Giants thinking about the future
- Google, Microsoft and Facebook have to transport vast amounts of information.
- Google have built two large undersea cables stretching from the west coast of the US, across the Pacific Ocean, to Japan. And another one from the US to Brazil.
- Facebook and Microsoft have teamed up to build their own undersea cable at their own expense too.
- Currently being funded by Facebook and Microsoft is an underwater cable stretching across the Atlantic Ocean from the US East coast to Spain, called Marea.
- Production begins in August 2016 and will be completed in October 2017.
- This cable will be giant compared to earlier cables; it will stretch 6,600 kilometres (4,100 miles).
- It is designed to carry a vast amount of data very quickly; 160 terabits of data per second (1,160 GB per second).
- How much this venture is costing has not been revealed but you can assume it’s in the millions.
- Marea will help Facebook and Microsoft to remain current and ahead for the future
- It will also provide fast internet service as the internet gets bigger and acquires more users.
- Facebook wants to encourage people to use more video content and meet in a virtual reality. This requires a lot of bandwidth.
- Facebook and Microsoft aim to remain dominant in this market and funding their own cable will be advantageous for the future.
- Other companies will buy space to have access to a cable, so it will be very profitable, and Facebook and Microsoft have complete power over the cable.
The location of the cable
- The location of the cable, from Virginia in the US to Bilbao in Spain is also advantageous.
- It allows Facebook to have a stronger connection in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, which are new targets for tech giants as Facebook who have already conquered Europe and the US.
- Hardware such as solar-powered drones, that can fly for years, are already being created to be placed in the parts of the world that don’t have much connection.
- Like Google has done in some parts of America, Microsoft and Facebook could become the internet service providers in some countries rather than local telecom companies run by governments.
What does it mean for the future?
- More of the world’s population will go online, and the population as a whole is likely to keep increasing.
- These internet giants are spending millions on these super cables as an investment as they know this will pay off immensely in future.
- They are also actively pursuing less connected areas to expand their digital influence.
- Rather than waiting on governments to fund telecommunications, these giant companies are taking control and providing these services themselves.
- As we know video content and mobile technology will expand, and these require a stronger connection, as well as more virtual reality.
- Overall we will all benefit from a stronger, faster and more convenient internet whether we use it for business or recreation.