The Undersea Network
Cabled Depths: The Aquatic Afterlives of Signal Traffic
This chapter analyzes the lasting influence undersea cables have had on our knowledge about and inhabitation of the ocean. The chapter first documents the relationship between early oceanography and telegraph cable networks, which together helped to chart a distinct set of paths across the ocean. The chapter’s second section describes how these exchanges were shaped by United States militarization of seafloor in the postwar era, and how cables took on a new function as they were mobilized for the acoustic monitoring of marine space. The third section describes the ways that these systems today feed back into the development of marine scientific research via the development of cable-linked ocean observatories and into new extractive relationships with the seafloor. The chapter ultimately argues that developing alternate uses and users of cable systems is one way to ensure the broader equity of communications systems across the Pacific.