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Robert Hooke described how sound could be transmitted by means of a tightly stretched wire.
Daniel Colladon and Jacques Babinet began demonstrating how you could guide light by refraction in Paris. This was replicated by John Tyndall in London a decade later and published in his book in 1870.
Alexander Graham Bell made the world’s first telephone call to his assistant Thomas Watson.
Alexander Graham Bell created a precursor to fibre-optic communications, the Photophone, in Washington. Bell considered it his most important invention. The device allowed for the transmission of sound on a beam of light. The Photophone would not prove practical until advances in laser and optical fibre technologies permitted the secure transport of light. The Photophone’s first practical use came in military communication systems many decades later.
Harold Hopkins and Narinder Singh Kapany discovered that rolled fibre glass allowed light to be transmitted across a cable network.
Jun-ichi Nishizawa proposes the use of optical fibres for communications. He invented the PIN diode and the static induction transistor, both of which contributed to the development of fibre optical communications.
Charles Kao and George Hockham published a paper that proved that fibre-optic communication could be possible as long as the fibres used to transmit the information were free of impurities. This blasted open the door Alexander Graham Bell had first created, allowing sound to be transmitted over beams of light.
The first message from one computer to another was sent!
Optical fibre cables for communication were successfully developed in 1970 by Corning Glass Works.
The first email was sent by Ray Tomlinson. Many, many, many others have since followed.
Bell Laboratories developed a chemical vapor deposition process that heats chemical vapors and oxygen to form ultra-transparent glass that can be mass-produced into low-loss optical fibre. This process still remains the standard for fibre optic cable manufacturing.
In October 1973, Corning Glass signed a development contract aimed to test fibre optics in an urban environment: in September 1977, the second cable in this test series, named COS-2, was experimentally deployed in two lines for the first time.
The first modern applicable commercial fibre optic communications system was developed.
The first non-experimental fibre-optic link was installed by the Dorset police in 1975. Two years later, the first live telephone traffic through fibre optics occurred in California.
Telephone companies began to use fibre extensively to rebuild their communications infrastructure.
The second generation of fibre optic communication was developed for commercial use and used InGaAsP semiconductor lasers.
David Payne and Emmanuel Desurvire invented the erbium-doped fibre amplifier, which reduced the cost of long-distance fibre systems.
The first transatlantic telephone cable went into operation.
A third-generation of fibre optic systems was developed. With the fourth generation of fibre optic communication systems developed soon after using optical amplification, these two improvements created an information technology revolution that resulted in the doubling of system capacity every six months starting in 1992.
The World Wide Web was introduced – a term coined by Time Berners Lee.
Emmanuel Desurvire and David Payne demonstrated optical amplifiers that were built into the fibre optic cable itself. The all-optic system could carry 100 times more information than cable with electronic amplifiers.
Amazon sold their first book. Many books, games, toys, clothes … basically anything has followed since.
The first allfibre optic cable, TPC-5, that uses optical amplifiers was laid across the Pacific Ocean.
Fibre Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) became the longest single-cable network in the world and provided the infrastructure for the next generation of Internet applications.
The first sentence was spoken on Skype paving the way for Slack, Teams, Zoom and working from home, as well as many hilarious interruptions and video backgrounds to come.
Facebook got its first member – Mark Zuckerburg and changed your holiday envy forever.
YouTube published it’s first video, reinventing how we consume media and stream content.
Today fibre optic cables are the preferred technology for internet, phone and TV connectivity. They’re also used in many other areas of the home and workplace areas, including in decor applications such as a fibre optic Christmas trees!
Today, companies such as Zzoomm are building Full Fibre networks using only fibre optic cables across the UK. Zzoomm was founded in 2018 by experienced Full Fibrenetwork entrepreneur Matthew Hare OBE. With Henley-on-Thames now the fastest town in the UK, our ambition is to pass 1 million properties by 2025! That’s a long way for Fibre to go and millions of people connected.