BT has developed a fibre-optic cable which can make sharp turns without kinking and could slash the cost of installing superfast broadband to homes and businesses.
Officially tagged ‘bend insensitive fibre’, it’s been developed by engineers at BT Innovate & Design and already put to use in the London 2012 Olympic village.
Just 4.8mm in diameter, the bendy fibre can be stapled to skirting boards, around corners just like any regular copper cable.
One trial of short runs has been within the London 2012 Olympic village, where BT has already installed a super-fast broadband network.
BT Innovate & Design's Malcolm Campbell said: “For the past two years we've been working to establish the performance and applications of new types of optical fibre.
"It was slow progress to begin with, as the individual manufacturers kept updating their products and we had a lot of trouble understanding the variation between them.
“But in the end, we ended up with something called 'bend insensitive fibre'. The big difference between this and traditional fibre is that the glass is chemically different which means that the light is more tightly confined within the optical fibre.”
The new fibre is particularly useful for pushing through the tight, twisty cable routes found in apartment blocks and flats, as BT has found on trials in York, Milton Keynes and Highams Park in North London.
It’s also looking handy for other locations, such as exchanges and street cabinets, where a more flexible cable can make installations less comples, faster and more robust.
Malcolm demonstrates the BT Innovate & Design bendy fibre in this video: