The development of wireless technology began in 1887, when Heinrich Hertz discovered controllable electromagnetic waves. This discovery created a host of technological possibilities. Between 1888 and 1896, Hertzian waves were successfully transformed into practical wireless technology. The two most notable figures in the development of wireless technology were Guglielmo Marconi and Aleksandar Popov. For both Marconi and Popov, the major technological challenge was transmission across long distances.
On December 12, 1901, radio truly went global when Marconi famously transmitted across the Atlantic Ocean between Cornwall and Newfoundland. Although the technology was patented by Marconi at the turn of the century, it took nearly two decades for it to be commercially viable and able to compete with transatlantic cable companies.