Cables, Undersea

The first successful transatlantic telegraph cable (1866) transformed the global reporting of news, greatly speeding up the pace of transmission between Europe and North America. News that had taken weeks to travel by ship could now be sent in minutes or hours, making (as many noted both at the time and since) the world seem smaller. Development of the first transatlantic telephone cable (1956) added a new, albeit briefly very expensive, means of reporting. Today’s fiber-optic cables span the Northern Hemisphere, putting most major cities within seconds of each other for transmission of audio, visual, and data news communication.

The idea of expanding beyond land telegraphy by laying a telegraph cable under water was delayed for years by two technical factors. The first was the search ...

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