Porthcurno is unusually well known for its size because of its history as a major international submarine communications cable station. In the late nineteenth century, the remote beach at Porthcurno became internationally famous as the British termination of early submarine telegraph cables, the first of which was landed in 1870, part of an early international link stretching all the way from the UK to India, which was then a British colony.
Porthcurno was chosen in preference to the busy port of Falmouth because of the reduced risk of damage to the cables caused by ships’ anchors.
In the Inter-War years, the Porthcurno cable office operated as many as 14 cables simultaneously, for a time becoming the largest submarine cable station in the world, with the capacity to receive and transmit up to two million words a day.
Porthcurno is still known colloquially by the acronym 'PK' being represented in Morse code as 'di-dah-dah-dit' followed by 'dah-di-dah'. In the early days of expensive telegraphy, this could be sent unambiguously with just two letters instead of ten.