How It Works
Bringing broadband to the masses
Charles Kuen Kao 1933-2018
Known as the father of fibre-optic communication, Charles Kuen Kao revolutionised the way we benefit from a high-speed internet connection. In the mid-1960s Kao proposed a method of information delivery, in the form of light, through fibre-optic cables. The cables consisted of a long glass pipe along which light beams would be fired. You might imagine that light simply shines through the glass and escapes. However, Kao used purified glass in such a way that the wall of the pipe acted as a mirror for the light photons, allowing them to bounce within and continue travelling down the pipe, a phenomenon called total internal reflection. This results in the light information being transmitted across far-flung distances, perfect for telecommunications.