The Undersea Network
A Network of Islands: Interconnecting the Pacific
This chapter charts how network nodes are shaped by the politics, histories, and geographies of islands across the Pacific. The chapter counters the existing conceptual opposition between the networks and islands, and instead reveals how islands have been critical to transpacific cable systems. Each section documents the history of a different networked island. The first details how Guam’s networks have been critically tied to American military extensions. The second describes Fiji’s emergence as a key site for British colonization and communications in the Pacific. The third focuses on the struggles of Yap, a former node in the German cable network. The chapter describes how networks have benefited from the island’s insulating properties, and in turn, how islands have become sites of interconnection. It argues that emerging as a network hub involves triangulating existing sets of circulations, whether transpacific, regional, or local.