Escher.gif (426 bytes)

History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
from the first submarine cable of 1850 to the worldwide fiber optic network

1963 COMPAC Cable

1963 Commonwealth Pacific Cable (COMPAC)

Cable image courtesy of STC

For COMPAC, 8300 nm of cable was manufactured by STC (Standard Telephones & Cables Ltd.) and Submarine Cables Ltd.

1. High tensile non-twisting steel core.

2. Inner conductor, consisting of a thin longitudinal copper tape, box-seamed tightly on to the steel core.

3. Polythene insulation.

4. Aluminium outer conductor tapes (core diameter 0.99 in).

5. Polythene separator.

6. Aluminium screening tapes, interleaved with polythene tapes; these screening tapes reduce cross-talk between cable turns when the cable is stored in the ship's hold during laying.

7. Chemically impregnated cotton tape to inhibit corrosion.

8. Polythene sheath (overall diameter 1.25 in).

This was the same design of lightweight cable used for CANTAT in 1961.

The installation of COMPAC began with the laying of the Auckland and Sydney shore ends by CS Retriever (5) in April 1962. Then HMTS Monarch (4) laid the 1273 nm fifty-repeater cable during June. This section opened for traffic in July 1962.

The 1260 nm fifty-repeater Auckland - Suva section followed in October 1962 with the same vessels carrying out the work. The Suva - Hawaii - Port Alberni cable, 5500 nm in length with 218 repeaters, involved HMTS Monarch (4), CS Mercury and CS Retriever, the latter laying the shore ends. The final splice was made on 16 October 1963 with the system opening for traffic on 3 December 1963.

This 22-minute film from 1963 shows the laying of the cable.

Submarine Cables Ltd. manufactured 5500 nm of lightweight cable and 360 nm of armoured cable, 93 complete repeaters and 231 repeater housings. Standard Telephone and Cables Ltd. supplied 2800 nm of cable and 231 repeater units.

Click here for more information on COMPAC.

Last revised: 18 February, 2017

Return to Atlantic Cable main page

Search all pages on the Atlantic Cable site:

Research Material Needed

The Atlantic Cable website is non-commercial, and its mission is to make available on line as much information as possible.

You can help - if you have cable material, old or new, please contact me. Cable samples, instruments, documents, brochures, souvenir books, photographs, family stories, all are valuable to researchers and historians.

If you have any cable-related items that you could photograph, copy, scan, loan, or sell, please email me: [email protected]

—Bill Burns, publisher and webmaster: