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How did telecommunications originate?

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Quick Answer

Arguably, telecommunications originated with the invention of the electrical telegraph. Though there were many discoveries that led to this, the electrical telegraph was the first instance of long-distance electric communication, which formed the basis for modern telecommunications infrastructure.

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Full Answer

Electrical telegraphs were able to manipulate electronic currents through wires connecting two devices at each end to produce signals that could be translated into messages. The most famous development in electrical telegraphs was Samuel Morse’s version of the system and the language called Morse code, which allowed messages to be sent one letter at a time and printed by the receiving device on a piece of paper. Telegraphs became widespread across the United States and Europe, and the first transoceanic telegraph line was successfully completed in 1866.

After electrical telegraphs had been adopted and infrastructure built, the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in the 1870s. He created the Bell Telephone Company in the United States, now known as American Telephone & Telegraph, or AT&T. This advancement built upon the telegraph infrastructure already created, allowing instantaneous voice communication between parties. Telephone communication was broadly adopted in major cities in the United States and the rest of the Western world within a decade. However swift the initial deployment of domestic telephone networks, the first transatlantic telephone cable did not become operational until 1956, more than half a century later.

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