While radio telephone was being considered for the continental United States, it was the only option available for transatlantic voice communication. Such telephone links were at the mercy of storms and assured a great deal of static in connections at the best of times. The only transatlantic communication option was the telegraph, via a transoceanic telegraph cable the first one of which was laid in 1866. Since 1928 consideration had been given to linking the continents with a cable system for direct telephone communication.
The transatlantic cable was actually just two big specially coated and insulated wire bundles laid along the ocean floor: one eastbound, one westbound. The cable required a series of more than one hundred tiny "repeaters," electronic components (made of vacuum tubes) which amplified the sound carried along the cable and made up for volume lost in the long trip...
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