Britain Races Ahead Down The Data Superhighway

As U.S. phone companies wrestle with regulatory problems and begin to noodle with the ins and outs of video programming, they might do well to take time out for a trip to London's run-down borough of Lewisham. There, above a bowling alley, past a receptionist seated behind bullet-proof glass, down a corridor of temporary room dividers, behind which sit a beehive of telephone sales workers with heavy cockney accents, is what the Americans are hoping someday to accomplish. In a large office with floor-to-ceiling banks of computers and recorders downloading TV shows from satellites, a technician sits nearby, wolfing down french fries.

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