The First Fibers to Homes

Jeff Hecht

Thirty-five years ago this month, Japan’s Ministry for International Trade and Industry announced plans to build the world’s first fibered city. A two-way fiber-optic network called the Highly Interactive Optical Visual Information (Hi-OVIS) was far ahead of its time.


figureHi-OVIS mobile system set up to broadcast a school event on a playing field.

Modern optical communications was born in a visionary era. Electronic technology grew explosively after World War II. Television sets went from novelties to commonplace in the 1950s, and, by the birth of the laser in 1960, Bell Labs had visions of transforming the telephone network to video. Social visionaries hoped that new communications technology would transform society.

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