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The history of the telecoms backbone that spans the earth
It is more than 150 years since the first electronic message made its leisurely way across the Atlantic.
The message from Queen Victoria to US president James Buchanan took 16 hours to transmit in 1858, despite consisting of just 98 words.
Today, intercontinental missives cross the globe in the blink of an eye and are no longer the preserve of heads of state.
The global reach of modern communications is built on the high-bandwidth fibre-optic cables that snake across ocean floors, connecting continents.
UK firm Cable&Wireless Worldwide can chart its history back to the laying of the first reliable commercial transatlantic cables by a consortium of British telegraph companies in 1866.
SS Great Eastern, an iron steam-powered ship designed by renowned engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, played a central role in the laying of these early intercontinental cables, helping to deploy cable both across the Atlantic and from Bombay to Porthcurno in Cornwall.
The picture above shows the cable ship Colonia arriving to lay a submarine cable from Porthcurno to Fayal in the Azores in 1906.
Photo credit: Cable&Wireless Worldwide