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Innovation timeline

   

1837

Wheatstone and Cooke file the first patent for the five needle electric telegraph.

 

   

1846

The Electric Telegraph Company is founded – the world’s first public telegraph company, and BT’s earliest predecessor.

 

   

1891

The Post Office laid the first submarine telephone cable between the UK and France.

   

1896

Marconi demonstrated his ‘telegraphy without wires’ from the roof of the Post Office Central Telegraph Office in London.

 

   

1899

First public automatic telephone exchange opened in the UK.

   

1927

The birth of British TV. We supported John Logie Baird in the development of television, carrying his early broadcasts over telephone lines from London to Glasgow.

   

1936

The iconic K6 red telephone box is introduced to commemorate King George VI’s Silver Jubilee.

   

1943

Post Office research engineers designed and constructed Colossus, the world’s first programmable computer, to break codes at Bletchley Park.

   

1956

The first transatlantic telephone cable (TAT 1) was laid.

   

1962

The Post Office Satellite Earth Station took part in the first transatlantic television transmission made via an artificial satellite – Telstar.

   

1965

The Post Office Tower (now the BT Tower) is opened in London, the hub of a microwave radio network to meet increased demand for telephone and television broadcasting.

   

1968

Post Office Telecommunications launched the world’s first digital exchange in London.

   

1968

Post Office Telecommunications research engineers processed glass pure enough to be of practical use in optical fibre cables.

   

1978

Post Office Telecommunications launched Prestel, the world’s first viewdata network and a precursor to the internet.

   

1982

Adastral Park’s satellite dishes beamed television signals for Europe’s first satellite transmission service.

   

1985

Mobile phone services introduced in the UK by Vodafone and BT Cellnet.

   

1990

BT’s long distance network became the first wholly digital major network in the world.

   

1995

We tested our video on demand service between Ipswich and Colchester using asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) over copper cables, with a set-top box from Apple.

   

1999

BT pushed commercial optical fibre transmission to 80 Gigabits per second. Our labs demonstrated the world’s fastest regenerator – a photonic digital network component.

   

2002

BT’s new business systems allowed the launch of the UK’s first commercial broadband internet access service.

   

2006

BT created the world’s first fully-automated ‘spam buster’ system.

   

2010

BT launched the first smartphone app to make the phone book available to mobile users.

   

2011

The Home Hub 3 wireless broadband router automatically avoids interference from other electronic devices or wiring.

   

2012

BT passed the 10 million homes mark for fibre broadband provision.

   

2012

EE launches UK’s first 4G mobile network.

   

2014

World’s fastest fibre optic transmission on single-mode fibre in a real world environment – 3 Terabits per second.

   

2015

BT announced large scale trials of groundbreaking G.fast technology, delivering ultrafast broadband speeds of several hundred Mbps.

   

2015

BT announced new role for Adastral Park supporting cutting edge research into quantum communications technologies, with potential to transform network security.

   

2015

In August 2015 BT launched Europe’s first 4K channel – dedicated to BT’s sports coverage – BT Sport Ultra HD.

   

2016

BT trials 2TB per second optical superchannel between London and Dublin.

   

2017

BT and EE first to demonstrate 5G backhaul technology