Tubes - Behind The Scenes At The Internet

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0120120806

Written by Andrew Blum.

You write an email. You hit send. It appears ten thousand miles away. How did that happen?

In April 2011, a seventy-five year old woman deprived Armenia of its Internet access when she sliced through a buried cable with her garden spade. That January, Egyptian authorities simply switched off 70% of the country's Internet connections in an attempt to quell a revolution. In 2009, a squirrel chewed through a wire in Andrew Blum's backyard, slowing his broadband to a trickle and catapulting him on a quest to find out what this so-called 'Internet' actually is.

This is the Internet as you've never seen it before. It's not a concept. It's not a culture. It's most certainly not a cloud. It's a mass of tubes.

But what tubes! Hundreds of thousands of miles of fibre-optic cable, criss-crossing the globe, pulsing with trillions of photons of light, linking us via anonymous exchanges in secretive locations with vast data-warehouses where our online selves are stored in banks of spinning hard-drives.

In Tubes, Andrew Blum takes us behind the scenes of this hidden world and introduces us to the remarkable clan of insiders and eccentrics who design and run it everyday. He explains where it is, how it got there, what it looks like, how it works - and what happens when it breaks.

Reader: John Schwab

Abridger: Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

The first stop on the author's journey of discovery is California where the internet began

0120120806

Written by Andrew Blum.

You write an email. You hit send. It appears ten thousand miles away. How did that happen?

In April 2011, a seventy-five year old woman deprived Armenia of its Internet access when she sliced through a buried cable with her garden spade. That January, Egyptian authorities simply switched off 70% of the country's Internet connections in an attempt to quell a revolution. In 2009, a squirrel chewed through a wire in Andrew Blum's backyard, slowing his broadband to a trickle and catapulting him on a quest to find out what this so-called 'Internet' actually is.

This is the Internet as you've never seen it before. It's not a concept. It's not a culture. It's most certainly not a cloud. It's a mass of tubes.

But what tubes! Hundreds of thousands of miles of fibre-optic cable, criss-crossing the globe, pulsing with trillions of photons of light, linking us via anonymous exchanges in secretive locations with vast data-warehouses where our online selves are stored in banks of spinning hard-drives.

In Tubes, Andrew Blum takes us behind the scenes of this hidden world and introduces us to the remarkable clan of insiders and eccentrics who design and run it everyday. He explains where it is, how it got there, what it looks like, how it works - and what happens when it breaks.

Reader: John Schwab

Abridger: Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

The first stop on the author's journey of discovery is California where the internet began

0220120807

Written by Andrew Blum.

The author journeys to Silicon Valley to meet the men behind one of the internet's most important locations, past and present.

You write an email. You hit send. It appears ten thousand miles away. How did that happen?

In April 2011, a seventy-five year old woman deprived Armenia of its Internet access when she sliced through a buried cable with her garden spade. That January, Egyptian authorities simply switched off 70% of the country's Internet connections in an attempt to quell a revolution. In 2009, a squirrel chewed through a wire in Andrew Blum's backyard, slowing his broadband to a trickle and catapulting him on a quest to find out what this so-called 'Internet' actually is.

This is the Internet as you've never seen it before. It's not a concept. It's not a culture. It's most certainly not a cloud. It's a mass of tubes.

But what tubes! Hundreds of thousands of miles of fibre-optic cable, criss-crossing the globe, pulsing with trillions of photons of light, linking us via anonymous exchanges in secretive locations with vast data-warehouses where our online selves are stored in banks of spinning hard-drives.

In Tubes, Andrew Blum takes us behind the scenes of this hidden world and introduces us to the remarkable clan of insiders and eccentrics who design and run it everyday. He explains where it is, how it got there, what it looks like, how it works - and what happens when it breaks.

Reader: John Schwab

Abridger: Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

The author journeys to Silicon Valley to meet the men behind the internet.

0220120807

Written by Andrew Blum.

The author journeys to Silicon Valley to meet the men behind one of the internet's most important locations, past and present.

You write an email. You hit send. It appears ten thousand miles away. How did that happen?

In April 2011, a seventy-five year old woman deprived Armenia of its Internet access when she sliced through a buried cable with her garden spade. That January, Egyptian authorities simply switched off 70% of the country's Internet connections in an attempt to quell a revolution. In 2009, a squirrel chewed through a wire in Andrew Blum's backyard, slowing his broadband to a trickle and catapulting him on a quest to find out what this so-called 'Internet' actually is.

This is the Internet as you've never seen it before. It's not a concept. It's not a culture. It's most certainly not a cloud. It's a mass of tubes.

But what tubes! Hundreds of thousands of miles of fibre-optic cable, criss-crossing the globe, pulsing with trillions of photons of light, linking us via anonymous exchanges in secretive locations with vast data-warehouses where our online selves are stored in banks of spinning hard-drives.

In Tubes, Andrew Blum takes us behind the scenes of this hidden world and introduces us to the remarkable clan of insiders and eccentrics who design and run it everyday. He explains where it is, how it got there, what it looks like, how it works - and what happens when it breaks.

Reader: John Schwab

Abridger: Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

The author journeys to Silicon Valley to meet the men behind the internet.

0320120808

Written by Andrew Blum.

The author learns about the biggest threats to the internet's security and meets members of the curiously named 'peering' community.

You write an email. You hit send. It appears ten thousand miles away. How did that happen?

In April 2011, a seventy-five year old woman deprived Armenia of its Internet access when she sliced through a buried cable with her garden spade. That January, Egyptian authorities simply switched off 70% of the country's Internet connections in an attempt to quell a revolution. In 2009, a squirrel chewed through a wire in Andrew Blum's backyard, slowing his broadband to a trickle and catapulting him on a quest to find out what this so-called 'Internet' actually is.

This is the Internet as you've never seen it before. It's not a concept. It's not a culture. It's most certainly not a cloud. It's a mass of tubes.

But what tubes! Hundreds of thousands of miles of fibre-optic cable, criss-crossing the globe, pulsing with trillions of photons of light, linking us via anonymous exchanges in secretive locations with vast data-warehouses where our online selves are stored in banks of spinning hard-drives.

In Tubes, Andrew Blum takes us behind the scenes of this hidden world and introduces us to the remarkable clan of insiders and eccentrics who design and run it everyday. He explains where it is, how it got there, what it looks like, how it works - and what happens when it breaks.

Reader: John Schwab

Abridger: Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

The author meets members of the curiously named 'peering' community.

0320120808

Written by Andrew Blum.

The author learns about the biggest threats to the internet's security and meets members of the curiously named 'peering' community.

You write an email. You hit send. It appears ten thousand miles away. How did that happen?

In April 2011, a seventy-five year old woman deprived Armenia of its Internet access when she sliced through a buried cable with her garden spade. That January, Egyptian authorities simply switched off 70% of the country's Internet connections in an attempt to quell a revolution. In 2009, a squirrel chewed through a wire in Andrew Blum's backyard, slowing his broadband to a trickle and catapulting him on a quest to find out what this so-called 'Internet' actually is.

This is the Internet as you've never seen it before. It's not a concept. It's not a culture. It's most certainly not a cloud. It's a mass of tubes.

But what tubes! Hundreds of thousands of miles of fibre-optic cable, criss-crossing the globe, pulsing with trillions of photons of light, linking us via anonymous exchanges in secretive locations with vast data-warehouses where our online selves are stored in banks of spinning hard-drives.

In Tubes, Andrew Blum takes us behind the scenes of this hidden world and introduces us to the remarkable clan of insiders and eccentrics who design and run it everyday. He explains where it is, how it got there, what it looks like, how it works - and what happens when it breaks.

Reader: John Schwab

Abridger: Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

The author meets members of the curiously named 'peering' community.

0420120809

Written by Andrew Blum.

The author travels to Docklands and Cornwall on his journey behind the scenes.

You write an email. You hit send. It appears ten thousand miles away. How did that happen?

In April 2011, a seventy-five year old woman deprived Armenia of its Internet access when she sliced through a buried cable with her garden spade. That January, Egyptian authorities simply switched off 70% of the country's Internet connections in an attempt to quell a revolution. In 2009, a squirrel chewed through a wire in Andrew Blum's backyard, slowing his broadband to a trickle and catapulting him on a quest to find out what this so-called 'Internet' actually is.

This is the Internet as you've never seen it before. It's not a concept. It's not a culture. It's most certainly not a cloud. It's a mass of tubes.

But what tubes! Hundreds of thousands of miles of fibre-optic cable, criss-crossing the globe, pulsing with trillions of photons of light, linking us via anonymous exchanges in secretive locations with vast data-warehouses where our online selves are stored in banks of spinning hard-drives.

In Tubes, Andrew Blum takes us behind the scenes of this hidden world and introduces us to the remarkable clan of insiders and eccentrics who design and run it everyday. He explains where it is, how it got there, what it looks like, how it works - and what happens when it breaks.

Reader: John Schwab

Abridger: Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

The author travels to Docklands and Cornwall on his journey behind the scenes.

0420120809

Written by Andrew Blum.

The author travels to Docklands and Cornwall on his journey behind the scenes.

You write an email. You hit send. It appears ten thousand miles away. How did that happen?

In April 2011, a seventy-five year old woman deprived Armenia of its Internet access when she sliced through a buried cable with her garden spade. That January, Egyptian authorities simply switched off 70% of the country's Internet connections in an attempt to quell a revolution. In 2009, a squirrel chewed through a wire in Andrew Blum's backyard, slowing his broadband to a trickle and catapulting him on a quest to find out what this so-called 'Internet' actually is.

This is the Internet as you've never seen it before. It's not a concept. It's not a culture. It's most certainly not a cloud. It's a mass of tubes.

But what tubes! Hundreds of thousands of miles of fibre-optic cable, criss-crossing the globe, pulsing with trillions of photons of light, linking us via anonymous exchanges in secretive locations with vast data-warehouses where our online selves are stored in banks of spinning hard-drives.

In Tubes, Andrew Blum takes us behind the scenes of this hidden world and introduces us to the remarkable clan of insiders and eccentrics who design and run it everyday. He explains where it is, how it got there, what it looks like, how it works - and what happens when it breaks.

Reader: John Schwab

Abridger: Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

05 LAST20120810

Written by Andrew Blum.

The author discovers how our data is stored, what a 'cloud' really is and pays a visit to the headquarters of Google and Facebook.

You write an email. You hit send. It appears ten thousand miles away. How did that happen?

In April 2011, a seventy-five year old woman deprived Armenia of its Internet access when she sliced through a buried cable with her garden spade. That January, Egyptian authorities simply switched off 70% of the country's Internet connections in an attempt to quell a revolution. In 2009, a squirrel chewed through a wire in Andrew Blum's backyard, slowing his broadband to a trickle and catapulting him on a quest to find out what this so-called 'Internet' actually is.

This is the Internet as you've never seen it before. It's not a concept. It's not a culture. It's most certainly not a cloud. It's a mass of tubes.

But what tubes! Hundreds of thousands of miles of fibre-optic cable, criss-crossing the globe, pulsing with trillions of photons of light, linking us via anonymous exchanges in secretive locations with vast data-warehouses where our online selves are stored in banks of spinning hard-drives.

In Tubes, Andrew Blum takes us behind the scenes of this hidden world and introduces us to the remarkable clan of insiders and eccentrics who design and run it everyday. He explains where it is, how it got there, what it looks like, how it works - and what happens when it breaks.

Reader: John Schwab

Abridger: Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

The author visits the headquarters of Google and Facebook with surprising results.

05 LAST20120810

Written by Andrew Blum.

The author discovers how our data is stored, what a 'cloud' really is and pays a visit to the headquarters of Google and Facebook.

You write an email. You hit send. It appears ten thousand miles away. How did that happen?

In April 2011, a seventy-five year old woman deprived Armenia of its Internet access when she sliced through a buried cable with her garden spade. That January, Egyptian authorities simply switched off 70% of the country's Internet connections in an attempt to quell a revolution. In 2009, a squirrel chewed through a wire in Andrew Blum's backyard, slowing his broadband to a trickle and catapulting him on a quest to find out what this so-called 'Internet' actually is.

This is the Internet as you've never seen it before. It's not a concept. It's not a culture. It's most certainly not a cloud. It's a mass of tubes.

But what tubes! Hundreds of thousands of miles of fibre-optic cable, criss-crossing the globe, pulsing with trillions of photons of light, linking us via anonymous exchanges in secretive locations with vast data-warehouses where our online selves are stored in banks of spinning hard-drives.

In Tubes, Andrew Blum takes us behind the scenes of this hidden world and introduces us to the remarkable clan of insiders and eccentrics who design and run it everyday. He explains where it is, how it got there, what it looks like, how it works - and what happens when it breaks.

Reader: John Schwab

Abridger: Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

The author visits the headquarters of Google and Facebook with surprising results.