Where I work, some branch sites access the internet through the main site, to which they're connected via fiber-optic cables. In the event of the main links breaking, we switch to WiMax links, but these don't offer anything close to the usual bandwidth.
Most employees probably assume they're having a 'bad browsing day,' while those in the IT Department have to find someone to 'splice and dice' the cables, before things slow to a crawl.
Yes, connectivity via cables is something a lot of people take for granted --- until the cables get cut...
Living in this area myself both Australia and New Zealand are responsible for the Pacific Islands - yes, they do depend on cables, but the majority of the time they depend on Satellite links - they have some of the best bandwidth available via multiple links.