Established in 1872 by Sir John Pender, the Eastern Telegraph Company (today Cable & Wireless) was an amalgamation of a number of British telegraph companies founded in the 1860s and responsible for the implementation of important lines such as Malta to Alexandria and London to Bombay.
The company developed a huge network of telegraphs by creating new routes and doubling and even trebling cables on busy existing routes. In the early years of the 20th century, the Eastern became part of the Eastern and Associated Telegraph Companies which incorporated many other telegraph companies from all around the world.
In 1872 the Eastern Telegraph Company owned 8,860 miles of cable, owned or rented 1,200 miles of landline; had 24 stations and two repair ships. In 1887 the Eastern owned 22,400 miles of cable and had 64 stations. Its capital was GBP 5,900,000 and gross annual revenue GBP 650,971.