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Within 15 years, thousands of miles of fiber optic cable—and hundreds of pieces of other key internet infrastructure—are likely to be swamped by the encroaching ocean. And while some of that infrastructure may be water resistant, little of it was designed to live fully underwater.
…Scientists, planners, and businesses have long known that sea-level rise threatens physical infrastructure like roads, subways, sewage discharge networks, and power lines. But until now, no one had looked specifically at how higher water will affect the physical manifestation of the internet. …The physical structure of the internet has been laid somewhat haphazardly over the past few decades as demand for connectivity has boomed, with lines often laid opportunistically alongside power lines, roads, or other big infrastructure. But the telecommunication companies that own those lines, power supplies, data transfer stations, and other components keep their exact location information private. Barford, one of the study authors, spent the last few years carefully scraping the web for whatever scraps of publically available information he could find about the locations of those components and mapping his results. Many of those important pieces, he and his graduate student Ramakrishnan Durairajan found, were really close to the coasts. …This new study “reinforces this idea that we need to be really cognizant of all these systems, because they’re going to take a long time to upgrade,” …“We live in a world designed for an environment that no longer exists,”
I'm always amazed when reminded that no matter how far the upper layers of the tech stack advance, the advances are useless without the physical connections we take for granted 🌊