November 1984 | Contractor Report CR-84-31

1984 World's Submarine Telephone Cable Systems

Cite This Publication

Herbert H. Schenck and Leo Waldrick

Abstract: Although many listings of submarine telephone cable systems existed prior to 1975, none was sufficiently extensive nor authoritative to serve as a reference work for those interested in the role of submarine telephone cables in the world's telecommunication network. Consequently the United States Department of Commerce sponsored the publication in 1975 of World's Submarine Telephone Cable Systems.

The first edition of this work omitted mention of projects that were no longer in use as of the end of 1974, leaving some tantalizing gaps in the history of the submarine telephone cable art. This exclusion was removed for the second edition (1980) so that all known systems of consequence were chronicled, including even experimental systems, many of which reflect important bench-marks in the history of development. This present edition continues to describe all known projects, allowing even the mention of experiments in the open sea not touching land at any point (except the sea bottom!), of which there have been several, heralding the arrival of the fiber-optic revolution. Of such importance is this revolution, an exception has been made to the rule of exclusion, allowing mention of some experimental fiber-optic systems deployed in the sea without repeaters.

The first edition (1975) contained discussion of many aspects of the submarine cable industry with illustrations. The second edition (1980) contained an expanded commentary and more illustrations. It has been the intent of this present edition to amplify the discussion of the most striking development in the submarine cable industry — the use of fiber-optic mode for transoceanic service. Both editions included only seacable system projects that made use of submerged electronic amplifiers (repeaters).

This third edition provides detailed data profiles for all systems known to have been placed into service through the end of 1983. For those projects due for completion in 1984, there are descriptions containing as much information as is available in mid-1984. Finally the status—insofar as is known—of other projects: those pending, deferred, and indefinite, is given.

There is a listing of system-owning entities, mostly governmental but some investor-owned, and manufacturers and system construction contractors are listed. There are maps showing the general cable situation in areas of the world's oceans and seas, a glossary, and a bibliography. An appendix lists all cableships of consequence since 1900 with dates of commissioning and retirement.

Keywords: submarine cable systems; fiber optic systems; telephone cable systems; submerged electronic amplifiers; seacables; underseas cables

For technical information concerning this report, contact:

Edward F. Drocella
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
(202) 482-2608

Disclaimer: Certain commercial equipment, components, and software may be identified in this report to specify adequately the technical aspects of the reported results. In no case does such identification imply recommendation or endorsement by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, nor does it imply that the equipment or software identified is necessarily the best available for the particular application or uses.

For questions or information on this or any other NTIA scientific publication, contact the ITS Publications Office at or 303-497-3572.

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