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Working and communicating - on the move

Wireless and cables reverse : a change of focus

Since the mid 1980s and the introduction of mobile telephony, the old certainties of telecommunications have been changing.

There is more life in copper wires than many people would have predicted in the mid 1980s - but an all-fibre network would transform what computer networking could do.

Increasingly, these fixed-point networks are carrying the broadband traffic - music, video, games and data.

Meanwhile, mobile is taking more and more of the voice traffic - and may soon be taking more of the Internet and e-mail traffic too.

A trend seems to be developing where the telephone traffic that was once wired becomes wireless, and entertainment that was once delivered by wireless becomes wired. This changeover is known as the Negroponte Switch, after it was first predicted by Professor Nicholas Negroponte of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

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100 years of automatic switching!
In 1912 the GPO installed Britain's first automatic telephone exchange in Epsom.

Discover the early days of the telephone...