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What is the history of early telecommunications in Cornwall?

Specialist Group Tour Operator & DMC for Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly

Cornwall has a long and interesting history in telecommunication. In the early days of telecommunication, Cornwall played an important role due to its position on the south-western coast of England, which made it an ideal location for telegraph cables and later radio communication.

One of the earliest forms of telecommunication in Cornwall was the semaphore system, which was a series of towers that used visual signals to communicate messages. The first semaphore station in Cornwall was built in 1809 near Plymouth, and by the mid-19th century, there were more than a dozen stations operating along the south coast of Cornwall.

In the mid-19th century, the telegraph revolutionized communication in Cornwall. The first telegraph line was installed in Cornwall in 1852, connecting Penzance to London. By 1858, the first transatlantic telegraph cable was laid, connecting Europe and North America. This was a significant milestone in telecommunication, and Cornwall played a crucial role in connecting Europe to the rest of the world.

In the early 20th century, radio communication became popular, and Cornwall once again played an important role in its development. In 1900, the Marconi Company built a radio station at Poldhu, near Mullion, which was used to send the first transatlantic radio message in 1901.

During World War II, Cornwall became a vital center of communication for the Allies. The county was home to several military installations, including radar stations, telecommunication centers, and naval bases.

Today, Cornwall continues to be an important hub for telecommunication. It is home to several large telecommunication companies and is at the forefront of developing new technologies such as 5G and fiber-optic broadband.

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