Recollections of BBC engineering from 1922 to 1997
The British Broadcasting Corporation
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Communications Projects

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Communication project engineering covered a wide range of activities including planning and procurement of:-

  • Vision, Music, speech and data circuits from Public Telecom Operators.
  • Radio link systems for contribution and distribution of radio and television.
  • Mobile radio link vehicles for outside broadcasts.
  • "Mast Head" receiving systems to receive contributions from outside broadcasts.
  • Data systems (such as the Message Switching System that was used for service messages, sports results etc.). 
  • Telephone systems (in the region of 20,000 phones on 80 interlinked PBX's by the 1980's - one of the largest systems in the UK).

Most of this work was carried out by Communications Department and Transmitter Capital Projects Department.  These departments were known by other names prior to the mid 1970's and they were amalgamated to become part of BBC Transmission in the mid 1980's.  As a result this section of BBCeng is intended to cover the communications project activities of several BBC Departments.

In 1995 a very large, complex and important communications project was successfully completed: The Managed Broadcast Network
David Russell was Manager, Broadcast Networks and he was responsible for leading the project. Following the submission of a paper on the project, he was presented with an award for engineering achievement by the Royal Television Society.  This paper, which was already in the public domain, is now available on this web site following relevant advice from the BBC:-
The BBC's New Television and Radio Network - The Managed Broadcast Network.

(It should be noted that this network was "new" 22 years before the paper was published on in 2017. It operated very successfully and evolved as requirements changed, but major changes have now taken place and the paper does not describe the current network.)

Changes in Telecom-structure-1995.pdf

Link to Communications Operations.