Articles | Volume 9, issue 2
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 9, 605–607, 2009
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-9-605-2009
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 9, 605–607, 2009
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-9-605-2009

  17 Apr 2009

17 Apr 2009

Hanging on the line – on the need to assess the risk to global submarine telecommunications infrastructure – an example of the Hawaiian "bottleneck" and Australia

D. Dominey-Howes and J. Goff D. Dominey-Howes and J. Goff
  • Australian Tsunami Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia

Abstract. National economies are becoming increasingly dependent on the global telecommunications system – and in particular, its submarine cable infrastructure. We note that a variety of natural hazard processes are capable of damaging and destroying this infrastructure, both in deep water and at the coast. Some places within the global telecommunications system are already known to be bottlenecks or "choke points". Hawaii is just such a choke point and interestingly, Hawaii is also affected by numerous large magnitude natural hazard processes. Any damage to the submarine telecommunications infrastructure routed through Hawaii could result in significant impacts on the electronic flow of data and voice traffic, negatively affecting dependent economies such as Australia. We propose that proper risk assessments be undertaken at all bottlenecks in the global telecommunications system affected by natural hazards (such as tsunami). We use Hawaii as an example of the sort of research that should be undertaken.

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