Protection of global underseas cable infrastructure is critical to global economy and security
[ Page 179 ]
Canals, tunnels, and bridges over straits, submarine pipelines for oil and gas,28 as well as cables serve communication and transport purposes in the widest sense. These types of marine infrastructure can easily suffer from natural disasters or become targets of terrorism.29 It may be recalled that millions of telephone, telex, TV, and data links are made across the world at every moment. They may travel on radio waves or via satellites, but the majority are transmitted by submarine cables,30 which form a network over the world's seabeds. Cables are special because they provide the privacy and security that radio and satellite lack. They are reliable and long lasting and have an excellent capacity and transmission quality. Cables are vitally important to the global economy, to national security, and to the safety of life.31 The modern version of these arteries of data flow is fiber-optic cables running through oceans, straits, and across land bridges. For example, the bulk of data flow between Europe and the Far East goes by fiber-optic cables that run from the Mediterranean through Egyptian territory into the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. A high concentration of cables can be found in the South China Sea, Red Sea, and Mediterranean Sea. Likewise, a growing number of subsea cables for the transport of electricity are or under construction or in the planning process. Building up redundencies or back-up solutions will add to the picture, create additional intrusion on the environment, and offer a target for terrorists. Thus, the protection of “critical” marine infrastructure is part of the agenda.
Undersea cables are a valuable commodity in the 21st century global communication environment. The undersea consortium is owned by various international companies such as ATT, and these companies provide high-speed broadband connectivity and capacity for large geographic areas that are important entities of trade and communications around the globe. If undersea cables were cut or disrupted outside of the U.S.