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* Evolution of Telecommunications Technology - Beginning of Telegraph System Encyclopedia of Telecommunications

The first telecommunications technology in use was telegraph rather than telephone. The construction of the telegraph system is as follows.

Construction of Taiwan’s First Terrestrial and Submarine Telephone Lines:
1. 1874:

Japan sent troops to Taiwan on the excuse of a conflict between Ryukyu fishermen and the aborigines in Taiwan. The Qing government thus sent Chinese troops led by Shen Pao-Chen to guard Taiwan. For military communications, Shen Pao-Chen proposed the construction of telegraph lines in Taiwan.

2. 1877 :

After arrival, Shen Pao-chen first ordered construction of the telegraph line between Tainan to Chiho (Chijin, Kaohsiung). Another line connecting Tainan, Chiho and Anping was completed around the same time. Around 54 kilometers in length, this was Taiwan’s first telegraph line, marking the beginning of Taiwan’s telecommunications age.

3. 1886 :

Liu Ming-Chuan, as the Governor of Taiwan, set up the Telegraph Office in Taipei and commissioned Jardine Matheson to construct a submarine cable from Tamsui to Fuzhou, Fujian Province. Construction of the cable, 117 sea miles in length, was completed on August 23. The cable represented the latest and most important technology at the time as well as the turning point of Taiwan’s development.

At the same year, construction of two telegraph lines connecting the North and the South of Taiwan started. One of the lines began in Taipei and ended in Keelung and Huwei (Tamsui). The other began in Taipei and was extended via Hsinchu, Miaoli, Changhua, Yunlin and Chiayi to Taina, where it connected to the previous telegraph line constructed in 1874. Completed in 1888, the southbound line was 460 kilometers in length and was Taiwan’s first commercial telegraph line. The two telegraph lines served as the backbones of Taiwan’s telecommunications infrastructure.

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