We’ve hosted our first visit to Madley – our UK satellite earth station – by university students.

​The 19-strong group are all first-year students from the University of South Wales, studying for an MSc in mobile and satellite communications.

Madley, in Herefordshire, is the largest satellite earth station in the UK. But the university had only just found out about us.

It followed a visit by Professor Ifiok Otung, a lecturer at the university. He said methods the university is researching could support the work we carry out at Madley.

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As a result, BT’s Jon Price organised the student visit to strengthen ties with the university.

Madley Station Manager Nick Wood welcomed the students and talked about the site’s history.

They then spent several hours touring the site. And Head of Satcoms Operations Paul Frost explained the importance of our Madley operation and talked about the difference the students could make to the industry in general.

University of South Wales students impressed by visit to BT’s Madley Earth Station

Satcomms Operations Engineer Luke Jordan, who co-hosted the visit, says the students were “blown away” by what they saw.

“They were highly impressed with the infrastructure at Madley and how we move signals around the site and up to space,” he said.

“They’d never seen antennas at the scale we have and were overwhelmed with the technical capabilities of the site.

“It really helped them to see transmission equipment in a live situation which furthers their understanding of satellite communications.”

We’re now looking at the possibility of offering internships to students.

Madley opened in 1978. With 65 satellite dishes and an advanced network of fibre cables, it links the UK to the rest of the world. The chances are if you’ve made an overseas call it’s been routed through Madley.

Three giant aerials – each measuring 32 metres in diameter and weighing 290 tonnes – dominate the 218-acre site.

Its roles include handling data services for our major customers around the world, as well as television content for BT Sport and other broadcasters.

It’s also home to our emergency response team which helps in serious situations such as floods and other disasters.

The earth station has played a key role in communicating and broadcasting key world events, including the fall of the Berlin Wall and the funeral of Princess Diana.

Photo credit: Ian Collins