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Creating the Network

Episode 1 of 5

4 Extra Debut. Meeting the engineers who first dreamt of a cellular network in the 1960s. The presenter traces the evolution of the mobile phone. From November 2011.

Stephen Fry traces the evolution of the mobile phone, from hefty executive bricks that required a separate briefcase to carry the battery to the smart little devices complete with personal assistant we have today.

There are more mobile phones in the world than there are people on the planet: Stephen Fry talks to the backroom boys who made it all possible and hears how the technology succeeded, in ways that the geeks had not necessarily intended.

In the first episode, Stephen Fry meets the men who first dreamt of creating a cellular network. Back in the sixties, two Bell Labs engineers in the US thought perhaps a maximum of 50,000 people might use a cellular phone network. Now, there are billions of phones in the world, all of them dependent on the networks based on their design. It was an enormous technical challenge that took decades to complete; but the main problems were political. Motorola, for example, argued that phone calls were a frivolous waste of radio spectrum compared to more worthy causes like television.

Producer: Anna Buckley.

15 minutes

Last on

Mon 25 Jun 2018 03:45

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