A new digital telephone exchange marks the final phasing out of a system that has served Ireland since 1927.

First came the manual telephone exchange which required all calls to go through an operator. Then came the automatic technology of the step-by-step exchange which was invented in the 1890s by an American undertaker. Almon Brown Stowger was convinced he was losing business to his rival whose wife ran the local telephone exchange. In the 1960s, the Crossbar system was invented but most exchanges in Ireland continued to use the step-by-step system.

The latest technology comes in the form of fibre optics which are used in the new digital telephone exchange in Clontarf, Dublin. The exchange cost over £3 million and is part of an overall development programme for Telecom. 

Deputy Chairman of Bord Telecom Harold Sullivan speaks about the technological developments that have taken place.

We can do far more with the new technology than you could ever do with the old.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 9 May 1989. The reporter is Jeri Ward.