Ship seized for cutting Sri Lanka's internet link

This all reminds me of an old Neal Stephenson quote from a piece he did for Wired back in the day. There are more cables and a few more landing stations these days, but on the bottleneck side not much has changed

"In defense of telephony people, it must be pointed out that they are the ones who really know the score when it comes to sending bits across oceans. Netheads have heard so much puffery about the robust nature of the Internet and its amazing ability to route around obstacles that they frequently have a grossly inflated conception of how many routes packets can take between continents and how much bandwidth those routes can carry. As of this writing, I have learned that nearly the entire state of Minnesota was recently cut off from the Internet for 13 hours because it had only one primary connection to the global Net, and that link went down. If Minnesota, of all places, is so vulnerable, one can imagine how tenuous many international links must be.

Douglas Barnes, an Oakland-based hacker and cypherpunk, looked into this issue a couple of years ago when, inspired by Bruce Sterling's Islands in the Net, he was doing background research on a project to set up a data haven in the Caribbean. "I found out that the idea of the Internet as a highly distributed, redundant global communications system is a myth,'' he discovered. "Virtually all communications between countries take place through a very small number of bottlenecks, and the available bandwidth simply isn't that great.'' And he cautions: "Even outfits like FLAG don't really grok the Internet. The undersized cables they are running reflect their myopic outlook.''

As of this writing, I have
learned that nearly the entire state of Minnesota was recently cut
off from the Internet for 13 hours because it had only one primary
connection to the global Net, and that link went down. If Minnesota,
of all places, is so vulnerable, one can imagine how tenuous many
international links must be.

Hm, I remember cutting off the entire Pacific Rim once, from my
basement in Michigan, after typing the wrong command. I had to call
Jeff Burgan to reboot the IBM RT at Ames to bring it back. I guess
things haven't changed all *that* much in 15 years.