• 1837

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


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


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


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


    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.


    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.


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


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


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


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


    EE launches UK’s first 4G mobile network.


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


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


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


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


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


    BT and EE first to demonstrate 5G backhaul technology