Cabled and wireless communications connected every inhabited continent.
A thriving global news industry was pumping out information around the clock, from all around the world.
Telecom network were creatures of industrializing empires: and global networks had grown according to the political and commercial interests of wealthy states in Europe and North America, and of their white-settler colonial dominions.
So, by the 1870s, for example, Great Britain’s network reached India both with cable that ran above the ground and under the sea. By 1866, British telegraph cables linked both northern and southern Africa to Europe, while France and Portugal built networks that reached colonies on Africa’s western coast. Between the 1850s and 1870s, France steadily invaded Indochina (now Vietnam), and built telegraph cables as they went.
Once these networks were built, they were controlled almost entirely by white colonizers.
They also had no representation in the international organizations that regulated those networks. In the ITU, for example, places like the Belgian Congo, the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), Pakistan, Madagascar, or Guyana were represented not by local peoples, but by the white colonists that had taken control of these areas.
It was faster and cheaper to send a telegram from Saigon to Paris, for example, than it was to send the same message from Saigon to Manila, even though Vietnam and the Philippines were so much closer, geographically.