Fuelling the Modern Man

The ridiculous truth behind why the internet is dying in Vietnam

Does this count as the most extreme first-world problem?

Josh Butler
Published 8th November 2016

Vietnam has had a bit of a sh*t time over the years. It’s been ravaged by communism, besieged by the United States and now, in 2016, it’s facing yet another stiff trial.

The internet is dying. Millions of users in the South-East Asian country have experience excruciatingly slow or intermittent connections following a series of enormous outages.


This has not only hampered personal use throughout tens of thousands of homes, but it’s hardly been beneficial for Vietnamese business, either.

At first, foul-play was suspected, so officials traced the problems to their source, which happened to be the trans-Pacific cable located hundreds of metres below the surface of the ocean.


However, what they discovered down there beggars belief. Vietnam hadn’t been victim to political espionage or malicious cyber-attackers, but hungry sharks.

Deep-sea cameras have captured footage of sharks chomping down on the fibre-optic cables, with marine experts believing the creatures to be confused by the cables’ electro-magnetic fields.

Sharks are mistaking the electric signals given off for the bio-electric pulses that surround schools of fish and, thanks to their inherently curious nature, have been “test-biting” the internet cables – often resulting in great damage.

At 20,000km in length, the cable system is an extraordinary piece of human engineering, but had to be fixed three times in the past year thanks to damage caused by sharks.


As you might imagine, repairing cables hundreds of metres underwater is no easy task. Thankfully, Google has been replacing huge stretches of the trans-Pacific cable with Kevlar-like material in an attempt to fix the problem.

So, if you’re reading this in Vietnam, chào bạn! Welcome back to the internet! 

You didn’t miss much, if we’re honest. It’s still mostly a bunch of Trump memes and cat videos.