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Events in telecommunications history

1978

The first optical cable system in Europe to form part of the public telephone network was installed between the Post Office Research Centre at Martlesham and Ipswich telephone exchange. Optical cables contain glass fibres along which telecommunications signals can be transmitted as pulses of light rather than electricity as in earlier copper cables.

After a design study in which British Post Office staff participated, the Orbital Test Satellite of the European Space Agency (of which Britain was a member) was launched from Cape Canaveral. Its purpose was to test the feasibility of satellite communication between the countries of Europe.

A fourth aerial was completed at the Post Office Satellite Communications Station at Goonhilly for use with the Oribital Test Satellite.

The Post Office opened its second satellite communications station at Madley, Hereford.

One of the world's largest all-electronic telex exchanges, and the first in Britain to use Stored Programme Computer control (SPC), was brought into service in London.

Plans were made to update the payphone system by exploiting the benefits of electronic technology. It was decided that the new system would be based on the pre-payment approach with the refund of unused coins where appropriate.

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