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Broadcasting by Telephone

Nature volume 143, page 592 (08 April 1939) | Download Citation



THE Postmaster-General announced in the House of Commons on March 30, that the Post Office is to proceed immediately with the introduction of a system of distributing broadcasting programmes over the line telephone network. This service will be additional to that of the existing relay companies, the licences of which will also be extended for a further period of ten years to December 31, 1949. The new telephone broadcasting service will be operated on the so-called ‘wired wireless’ or carrier-current system, which is already in use to some extent in Great Britain and other countries for ordinary line telephony; a radio frequency carrier current, with the appropriate programme modulation, will be transmitted over the telephone lines, and a complete wireless receiving set will be used at the subscriber's end of the line. Three or four alternative broadcast programmes will be provided, the selection to be carried out by adjusting the receiver, and it will be possible to use the telephone simultaneously with the reception of a broadcast programme. The new service will be restricted at first to telephone subscribers, and the question of its extension to non-subscribers will be deferred pending experience of its working. From the point of view of national defence, the new service will have the advantage over the existing broadcasting system of reduced liability to interruption or interference; it is not intended, however, that any restriction shall be placed upon the wireless broadcasting programme service at the present time. The existing relay companies transmit merely the audio frequency currents over a special line network to loud-speakers on the subscribers' premises, and the service is usually limited to a choice between two programmes provided from the relay exchange. The new licences issued to these companies will require that these exchanges shall be connected to a B.B.C. station by wire, and that in time of emergency they shall transmit any special announcements ordered by the local A.R.P. or police authorities.

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