Skip to main content

Cheap and reliable telephone calls to North American first became possible in 1956 when the first undersea telephone cable was laid between Oban, Scotland and Newfoundland, Canada.

Find out more about the history of transatlantic communications and listen to Alison Taubman (Connected Earth Curator at the National Museum of Scotland) explain this important development.

To watch the podcast live on you computer click “Play” on one of the tracks below. If you are using a slow connection please allow a minute for the video to start.

The tracks can also be downloaded for playback on your personal media player either in the gallery or wherever you choose. To download the video or audio only podcasts right click on the tracks below and select “save target as”. A transcript of each podcast is also available by clicking “Transcript”.

Learn more about laying undersea cables.

An introduction to the world's first two-way transatlantic telephone

A short history of transatlantic communications

fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

featured story

100 years of automatic switching!
In 1912 the GPO installed Britain's first automatic telephone exchange in Epsom.

Discover the early days of the telephone...