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Geoff Daily

App-Rising.com covers the development and adoption of broadband applications, the deployment of and need for broadband networks, and the demands placed on policy to adapt to the revolutionary opportunities made possible by the Internet.

App-Rising.com is written by Geoff Daily, a DC-based technology journalist, broadband activist, marketing consultant, and Internet entrepreneur.

App-Rising.com is supported in part by AT&T;, however all views and opinions expressed herein are solely my own.

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August 28, 2008 10:09 AM

Underseas Fiber Equivalent To Sea Trading Routes

Found this fascinating article by Om Malik that dives into the latest explosion in investment in underseas fiber optic cables, which are the fat pipes used to connect different countries and continents.

In it he details the boom-and-bust investment cycle from the late 90s, and how this investment is booming again now overseas. He then goes on to suggest that wherever these cables are being built is a good indicator of where we'll see accelerated economic growth.

He says:

"This leads me to my conclusion: Building new cables is the equivalent of adding new roads, new shipping lanes or flights. The undersea fibers of today are what sea trading routes were in the past -- an indicator of future economic activity and the subsequent boom."

It's a great point but missing one very important nuance: the causality of having that capacity available.

It's not just that adding fiber is an "indicator" of future growth; it's the driver of that growth.

The deployment of fiber is not just the canary in the mineshaft warning people of the oncoming explosion; it's the striking match that's responsible for setting it off.

Taken another step, it's not just the coal dust that's ready to ignite; it's the drill that's creating more dust than was ever possible before.

So I'm not disagreeing with this post at all, but I do want to suggest that we need to make sure we're giving credit where credit's due.

Final thought: check out the maps in this article that show where underseas cables are. Don't they look like they could be indicating where seafaring routes are? Like where these fiber optic cables now reside mirror the routes ships used to take to move goods, people, and news. How cool is that?

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