An Internet Thanksgiving

Here's to the builders.

I’d like to thank all the people who’ve laid down copper and fiber cable, allowing for the infrastructure of the internet to exist. While most computers gets their internet access over WiFi and mobile phones are not attached to any wires, there is generally a base station somewhere nearby that connects to cables either on poles or underground. Those cables then connect all over the place, forming the nearly invisible infrastructure of the internet. We often forget how massive an undertaking this has been: just think of all the wires required to connect your house, your neighbor’s house, your office or any other location to the vast server farms that serve internet content on a daily basis. This infrastructure sits there, silently, and it is thanks to the work of many blue collar workers that it exists, thanks to the hard work they put in digging trenches or putting up poles and throwing wires around them. Most people think of the internet as the kind of place where only white collar workers do the work but, before anyone can sit down to code a new internet app, those physical cables need to show up.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the physical infrastructure of the Internet. It is easy to take for granted. I am certainly thankful for those who have worked to build and maintain it, as well as the many other invisible tasks involved in keeping the Internet and our favorite software online.