London Calling, on a Beam of Light

Undersea fiber-optic cables will bring continents closer together

The cable is only the size of a large garden hose, and its route across the marshlands of New Jersey is not particularly breathtaking. But AT&T workers are taking extraordinary care in handling and splicing this slender conduit as they work their way inch by inch toward the ocean. This is no routine telephone line going in. When it reaches its final destination -- Europe -- in 1988, the $335 million cable will be the first telephone line to carry voices and data across the Atlantic on beams of light.

The fiber-optic cable will be able to handle the equivalent of...

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