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BT's Optical Fibres, Broadband & Beer

Posted: 21st Oct, 2004 By: MarkJ
BT has begun touting their latest 'BEER-BASED' (solution found while drinking alcohol) technology, which is designed to help get optical fibre links into homes as part of its 21st Century Network (21CN):

When you need to develop new technology you could invest in serious laboratory research work, involve Britain's greatest academic minds, or go down to your local and think about it there. It worked for Morse, who was able to solve the most complicated case over a pint or two, and on this occasion it worked for BT too when its researchers realised that optical fibres could run through a plastic-tubing system like the one that carries beer through pubs.

BT's 21st century network (21CN) transformation programme took another significant step with this beer-related realisation. The delivery of optical-fibre cables, which can carry content such as video and fast data services, to individual homes and businesses is an important part of the 21 CN initiative.

However, optical fibre works best when it has fewest joints. BT put some of its best minds on the challenge of running it to thousands of individual homes, with as few joints as possible. The solution was the adoption of a technique used in public houses to join beer pipes. It means the fibres can be taken directly to where they need to be without the need to splice them together.

Pictured here are BT Broadband Network Engineering's Steve Page (left), one of the best minds who came up with the idea, and Richard Walling (right), who is now installing the new technology within the trials, checking that the initial idea was based on sound thinking! Each individual tube pictured can carry 12 fibres, each one no thicker than a human hair. Each fibre can carry millions of phone calls or multiple video broadcasts. But no beer, as yet...
To access photo use this LINK.


Would you trust those men? The one on the left looks a bit shifty ;).
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