Crossing the divide

21 Apr 2011

An Irish R&D group at Alcatel-Lucent in west Dublin is spearheading a radio technology that will help bring the internet to every person on the planet.

To walk through Alcatel-Lucent/Bell Labs’ Blanchardstown operations is to get an appreciation of the whirlwind history of telecoms over the past 150 years.

Ensconced among high-tech research labs and state-of-the-art facilities is a little corner where the very equipment responsible for the telecoms and internet revolution sits. For visitors, it’s a mind-blowing experience to see the antenna responsible for the world’s first transatlantic phone call, the first cinema projector with sound, replicas of the world’s first telecoms satellites, the earliest telegraph machines and sections of the world’s first transatlantic fibre-optic cable.

It is thus fitting that yards away young engineers are spearheading development of a new technology with an addressable market of €100bn over the next seven years that is little more than the size of a Rubik’s cube. The technology, incidentally, could be a game changer for humanity.

Known as lightRadio, the tiny new technology will revolutionise base stations and mobile masts, effectively reducing their carbon footprint by 50pc, leading to more bandwidth per person and to universal broadband coverage.

Read more of ‘Crossing the divide’ at Digital 21.

For the past two years, Silicon Republic has run a campaign to highlight the imperative of creating the digital infrastructure and services upon which the success of our economy depends.

The website for Digital 21 provides a forum for all those interested in accelerating the development of Ireland’s Digital Economy.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years