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Chapter 1. The Development of Submarine Cables

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Chapter Summary

This chapter traces the historical development of submarine cables from its inception to the widely-used technology that it is today. Over the subsequent 163 years the industry has evolved and developed to a point where 99 per cent of all international telecommunications traffic is carried on submarine cables. This industry history divides neatly into three eras, these being: The Telegraph Era (1850-1950); The Telephone Era (1950-1986); The Optical Era (1986-to date). The Telegraph Era is largely a British story. By the centenary of this industry some 469,500 nm of submarine cable had been laid. In 1864 Telcon was formed by the merger of the Gutta Percha Company and Glass, Elliott & Company. With the Atlantic tamed, submarine cables systems quickly expanded around the globe, largely due to the efforts of John Pender.

Keywords: Optical Era; submarine cable; Telegraph Era; Telephone Era



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