Transatlantic telephone cable

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A transatlantic telephone cable is a submarine communications cable that carries telephone traffic under the Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe.

When the first transatlantic telegraph cable was laid in 1858 by businessman Cyrus Field, it operated for only a month; subsequent attempts in 1865 and 1866 were more successful. Although a telephone cable was discussed starting in the 1920s, to be practical it needed a number of technological advances which did not arrive until the 1940s. During this period the transatlantic telephone service was radio-based; starting in 1927 it cost £9 (or roughly $16 USD) for three minutes and handled around 2000 calls a year.

TAT-1 (Transatlantic No. 1) was the first submarine transatlantic telephone cable system. It was laid between Gallanach Bay, near Oban, Scotland and Clarenville, Newfoundland between 1955 and 1956. It was inaugurated on September 25 1956, initially carrying 36 telephone channels.

Opened on September 25 1956, in the first 24 hours of public service there were 588 London-US calls and 119 from London to Canada. The capacity of the cable was soon increased to 48 channels. TAT-1 was finally retired in 1978.

There have been a succession of newer transatlantic cable systems. All recent systems have used fiber optic transmission, and a self-healing ring topology. Communications satellites lost most of their North Atlantic telephone traffic to these low cost, high capacity cables.

Cable NameDate(s)TypeInitial No. of channelsFinal No. of channelsWestern endEastern end
TAT-31963-1986Galvanic138276New JerseyEngland
TAT-41965-1987Galvanic138345New JerseyFrance
TAT-51970-1993Galvanic8452112Rhode IslandSpain
TAT-61976-1994Galvanic4,00010,000Rhode IslandFrance
TAT-71978-1994Galvanic4,00010,500New JerseyEngland
TAT-101992-2003Fiber-optic2 x 565 Mbit/s-USAGermany
TAT-111993-2003Fiber-optic2 x 565 Mbit/s-USAFrance
TAT-12/131996Fiber-optic12 x 2.5 Gbit/s-USA x 2GB, FR
TAT-142000Fiber-optic64 x 10 Gbit/s-USA x 2GB, FR, NL, D, DK
CANTAT-21974-1992Fiber-optic1,840-Nova ScotiaEngland
CANTAT-31994Fiber-optic2 x 2.5 Gbit/sNova ScotiaEurope
PTAT-11989Fiber-optic3 x 140 Mbit/s?US-BermudaIreland-UK

* first fiber optic cable.

The TAT series of cables constitute a large percentage of all north Atlantic cables. All TAT cables are consortia joint ventures between a number of telecommunications companies, e.g. British Telecom. CANTAT are Transatlantic Telephone cables terminating in Canada rather than the USA. There are a number of private non-TAT cables.

Cable NameDate(s)Owner
Gemini1998Cable and Wireless
Apollo2002Cable and Wireless
AC-11998Global Crossing
Yellow2000Level 3
FLAG Atlantic2000FLAG (Fiber Optic Link around the Globe) Telecom
TGN Atlantic2001sold by Tyco in 2005
Hibernia Atlantic2001CVC Acquisition Company

Other Atlantic Cables


[edit] External links

ru:Трансатлантический телефонный кабель

Transatlantic telephone cable

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