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PTAT-1 was the first privately financed transatlantic fiber optic cable, which was completed in 1989, at a cost of 400 million US dollars. It was maintained by C&W and Sprint/PSI and connected Manasquan, New Jersey, USA with Devonshire, Bermuda and Ballinspittle, Ireland, terminating at Brean, England, UK for a distance of 7,552 kilometres.
The significance of PTAT-1 is that it broke the international telecommunication monopoly held by AT&T Corporation and British Telecom for communications between the US and UK. When PTAT-1 filed for its Cable Landing License under the 1934 Cable Landing Act the idea of competitive international telecommunications was widely condemned by the international telecommunication establishment, i.e. the PTTs. By the time PTAT-1 was placed into service in 1989 competition was widely accepted.
PTAT-1 was built by a joint venture of a small private US company, Private TransAtlantic Telecommunication System (founded as TelOptik in 1984) and Cable & Wireless plc of the UK. The submarine system and line terminal equipment was provided by STC and alarm and control system management by ICL. The US shore end was built by Lightwave Spectrum. The UK to US section of the cable was shut down just after 2.00 a.m. on 8 February 2004 as it was no longer considered financially viable by Cable & Wireless. Competitors to the cable had dropped their prices drastically after they re-emerged from Chapter 11 with little or no debts to service, something C&W was unable to compete with.
This cable provided intelligent repeaters that counted bit errors which were reported in response to interrogation from a base station. It contained three fibre pairs which were used to provide two active channels. Each repeater included a base station-controlled cross-over data switch to swap traffic through a choice of two fibre pairs, the switch connections in successive repeaters enabled any desired connection to be made and provide a diversity path when required.