09 June 2015

IOCOM Submarine Telephone Cable 24.12.1981

The stamp shows a map with Madras and Penang linked by IOCOM Cable. The first day cover illustration shows a special cable-laying ship.

From time immemorial men have sailed the lonely seas. As new lands were discovered and colonised, the frontiers of commerce expanded. But the sea proved an effective barrier to transmission of messages with expedition till telegraph was invented in 1837. with innovations in telecommunications technology, the first submarine telegraph cable (with only one circuit) was laid across the English Channel between England and France in 1891. The first submarine cable with more also laid between the Netherlands and Denmark in 1950.

The seven Commonwealth Countries of India, Shri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and Canada joined hands to lay the cable system across the Indian Ocean between Madras and Penang (Malaysia). The 1350 nautical mile long, Indian Ocean Commonwealth Cable (IOCOM) has a capacity of 480 high grade telephone circuits with provisions for further expansion. IOCOM links India, for the first time, with the international submarine telephone cable network. The cable was laid by a special cable laying ship from Marina Beach at Madras to Kuala Muda near Penang in Malaysia. A gateway complex at Madras houses the cable terminal equipments, telephone and telex gateway exchanges and other international telecommunication facilities.

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