Internet cables:  present and future of geopolitics

Internet cables: present and future of geopolitics

There is an internet cable with which Google intends to expand the global optical fibre that sees Italy and Israel play a leading role. It’s called Blue-Raman and will leave Genoa to arrive in Mumbai, India. The path hides geopolitical issues and pitfalls. The “Raman” portion, whose name derives from Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, Indian Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930, will travel from Mumbai under the Indian Ocean to resurface in a country so far unidentified – at least officially. But everyone knows that it can only be Saudi Arabia. Then, finally, it will arrive at the Jordanian port of Aqaba. In the other section, the “Blue” will depart from Genoa, in Italy, and descend to the eastern portion of the Mediterranean to exit above ground through Israel and complete the work by reuniting with Aqaba.

The separation into two sections of this cable, which will bring faster internet to Eurasia, has no technical reasons but is a mere geopolitical issue, notes the Israeli Haaretz. According to the newspaper, Israel did not like being traced back to a physical structure that shared its territory with the Saudi one.The route has another reason for being: avoiding Egypt, through which several cables pass – in total, for now, 15: which feed the internet for about a third of the world’s population. Routes that travel from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, some also through Suez, whose shallow waters can make underwater structures vulnerable. But there is more: in Egypt, there is a security problem, the Sinai area is practically controlled by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (Isis) for example, and the concentration of internet cables is far from recommended due to the importance of the data that these contain and for the possible damage if damaged.

Like Israel, Italy has a central role in the project. And not only for Genoa, the point of arrival or departure. While the eastern part of the connection is produced by Muscat’s Omantel, the Mediterranean section is in the hands of Sparkle, a subsidiary of Telecom Italia. Google’s 400 million euro project has a high-level geopolitical value, as mentioned: the Eurasian connection through digital connection cables – beyond deviations and problems – is an element of fundamental importance that strengthens the Italian company already owner of Med Nautilus, the cable that transmits most of the Israeli traffic that does not pass through the Bezeq.

With technological evolution, internet addiction has grown considerably. A trend destined to increase with the implementation of 5G systems. For this reason, cables have an enormous centrality, from the technical data used to move machinery and software, to the socio-cultural and political value of online communications. The new cables are the geopolitical ties of the present and the future. The world powers send monitoring and espionage missions. In recent days, for example, a Russian Kilo-class submarine entered the eastern Mediterranean, for an attack mission against the Syrian rebels in Libya, or perhaps interested in submarine cables in the quadrant that will also house the Blue-Raman.

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