How climate change is making the internet faster
This summer, icebreakers are going to lay the first ever trans-Arctic fiber optic cable, which will be used to carry voice and data communication directly from London to Tokyo, reports Sebastian Anthony at Extreme Tech. This new line will speed up the connection between Europe and Asia by 30 percent, and will reduce the cable distance between those two cities from 15,000 miles to 10,000.
What’s making all this possible is climate change. As the North Pole of our planet becomes increasingly ice-free for ever longer periods of time, shipping routes through the fabled “Northwest Passage” have become commercially viable. The earth is a sphere (sorry if I just blew your mind, Rick Santorum), so now that there’s not a giant ice cube in the way, we can travel — and lay cable — using more direct routes over the top, instead of taking the long way around.
Speed boosts of 30 percent might not sound like a lot, but they mean a great deal to stock traders.
The massive drop in latency is expected to supercharge algorithmic stock market trading, where a difference of a few milliseconds can gain (or lose) millions of dollars.
If they can just build a big enough flood barrier for New York City, it looks like Wall Street will find a way to profit from climate change, after all.