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Communications Under the SeasThe Evolving Cable Network and Its Implications$
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Bernard Finn and Daqing Yang

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262012867

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262012867.001.0001

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Bridging the Gap: The Cable and Its Challengers, 1918–1988

Bridging the Gap: The Cable and Its Challengers, 1918–1988

(p.25) 3 Bridging the Gap: The Cable and Its Challengers, 1918–1988
Communications Under the Seas

Jonathan Reed Winkler

The MIT Press

This chapter surveys how the value and vulnerability of cables manifested in 1918, and how fiber-optic cables changed the industry altogether in 1988. The sequential rise of the telegraph cable, shortwave radio, the fiber-optic cable, and others are signs of the resilience of the cable industry despite their age. The chapter explores what brought about the end of the telegraph cable, and the emergence of the copper telephone cable era. In a subsequent era, telephone cables crossed expanses of water such as the English Channel. This proved inefficient over long distances, however, and solutions were sought by the industry. The first transatlantic telephone cable (TAT) became operational around 1956. By the development of TAT-5, the bandwidth capacity of the cables had increased tremendously. The final advancement in coaxial telephone cables, as portrayed in the chapter, came in the mid-1970s, and satellite communications had begun to affect cable development at the time.

Keywords:   fiber-optic cables, telegraph cable, shortwave radio, cable industry, copper telephone cable era, English Channel, transatlantic telephone cable, TAT

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