On the show a company called Alcatel were the manufacturers. As far as I know it's a french company, they make mobiles too.
It's several optical cables twisted together and then given a steel outer coating to protect it against the elements. Then the miles of cable are wound onto a special reel on this massive specially built ship and off it goes dropping it into the ocean.
mco: There used to be a small museum in Cornwall, on the coastal site where it all started. That would be a good outing for your son if you are Cornwall-bound for hols.this year. I think I am right in saying that the General Post Office (as BT was )had the monopoly on all phone traffic using their under-sea trans-Atlantic cables, a lucrative item into late last century. I expect details about the museum, if still there, would be among the google stuff. I saw it in the early '90s, it being founded after all cable operations ceased. They did not know then whether the place had a future. There were many giant wooden reels displayed outside. Inside there were models of the ships and detailed explanations. All very quaint and 'cottage industry' by today's standards!
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