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Pioneers of The Network

In 1858, the USS Niagara departed from the town of Heart’s Content on Newfoundland’s Trinity Bay, to meet up with HMS Agamemnon somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.   The plan was to connect a cable that would enable telegraph communication between the continents.

I was puzzled when I first heard this story, thinking that in the days before GPS and satellite phones, wouldn’t it have been easier to just use one ship and avoid a mid-sea rendezvous?   Steve Shepard explains the logic in episode 2.

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Building Bridges Across Time and Distance

By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

We’ve lived through a unique moment in human history. We’re likely the last generation that will remember a time before mobile phones or personal computers — before we could communicate with anyone, acquire virtually any piece of information, in seconds.

Having seen this sea change firsthand, we should have a sense of how profoundly new communication technologies can change society. But this isn’t the first time technology advances have reshaped human interactions. Take the completion of the first transatlantic undersea cable in 1858.

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The Anthology of Human Networks

By Steven Shepard, Contributing Columnist

My name is Steven Shepard, and I’m a writer, speaker, and industry analyst for the telecom, IT and media industries. The nature of my work is such that I visit about 70 countries every year, from wealthy First World countries with the most advanced telecom networks available to Third World countries that in many cases are building networks for the first time.

My plan is to take you on a journey through time and a voyage through space, showing you the best — and the worst — that telecom has to offer. For now, let’s go on a retrospective. Who would have thought that we would reach this point in our technological development?

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