According to the researchers, the United States is the most connected country in the world in terms of undersea cables, with connections on both coasts to most continents. The second and third most centrally connected countries are on the other side of the Atlantic: the United Kingdom and Senegal. The latter is where most of the southern transatlantic cables land.
"The importance of being central in the submarine fibre-optic cable network is twofold," the researchers write. "On the one hand, Internet users in central countries tend to have faster and cheaper connections to the Internet — there are no countries with low-cost Internet access that aren’t also relatively well-connected."
But they also highlight that some countries central to the submarine cable network have a history of spying on Internet traffic. (Those include the United States and Britain, whose intelligence activities have been described in documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.)
The map is part of an OII project called Information Geographies, which is aimed at producing "a comprehensive atlas of contemporary information and Internet geographies."
"Traditionally, information and knowledge about the world have been geographically constrained," Graham wrote in a column for the Guardian in 2012. "In the internet era, however, the movement of information is no longer constrained by distance." But still, he wrote, the digital geographies emerging show "massive inequalities" in the digital world that mirror those in the physical world.