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Recent papers describe experiments in transmitting speech by PCM (pulse code modulation). This paper shows in a general way some of the advantages of PCM, and distinguishes between what can be achieved with PCM and with other broadband systems, such as large-index FM. The intent is to explain the various points simply, rather than to elaborate them in detail. The paper is for those who want to find out about PCM rather than for those who want to design a system. Many important factors will arise in the design of a system which are not considered in this paper.