Eleven EMPIRE BY JON GERTNER One project under Kelly’s direct supervision captured the public’s imagination, and expanded the system’s reach, in a way that microwave towers could not. The project was given the name TAT-1; it was the first transatlantic phone cable, a joint project of AT&T and the British Post Office, that was intended to carry thirty-six phone conversations at any given time from the tiny village of Clarenville in Newfoundland, Canada, to the city of Oban, Scotland. Actually, TAT-1 was two ca- bles that would be laid side by side. One cable would carry voices to Europe, the other would carry responses back. Sending a message over land had always been easier than doing so over or un- der the water. Engineers had first tried to connect North America to Europe in the 1850s, when successive attempts were made to lay down a telegraph cable on the floor of the North Atlantic. “It was a mathematical impossibility to submerge the cable successfully at so great a depth, and if it were possible, no signals could be transmitted through so great a length,” the British royal astronomer predicted
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