Stamp Day, scheduled from 31 July to 2 August, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Noumea Townhall, retraces the history of telecommunications in New Caledonia. To mark the occasion, OPT is issuing a stamp booklet illustrating the successive telecommunications systems employed in New Caledonia. The electric telegraph, invented in 1937 by Samuel Morse, used a code where letters were represented by a series of dots and dashes. This system reached New Caledonia in 1893. In 1925, it was replaced by radiotelegraphy. In 1875, Alexander Graham Bell discovered that an electric wire could recreate sound corresponding to the vibration of a steel coil placed at one end of the wire; the telephone was born in 1876.
The first telephone link between America and Europe was established in 1927 and the telephone finally came to New Caledonia in 1959. The first communications satellite was launched into orbit by the United States in 1958. The first French satellite was launched in 1965. Satellite communications began in New Caledonia in 1975, with the commissioning of the Nouville aerial. Optical fibre, invented in the 1970s by laboratories in North America, is a very fine glass or silicon wire transmitting data as light signals encoded by variations in intensity. The underwater cable laid in 2007, linking New Caledonia with the rest of the world, should be up and running by 1 September 2008.