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  • 1962

    The birth of modern global telecommunications.

    The first direct relay communications satellite was launched, enabling live television broadcasts to be shown across the world.

    • What this meant for our customers.

      In its earlier incarnation as the British General Post Office (GPO), BT was closely involved in the launch of Telstar – the first active, direct relay communications satellite – from Cape Canaveral. More sophisticated than earlier satellites, Telstar was designed to amplify a signal received from the ground and to relay it back to another ground station. This meant that live events such as Queen Elizabeth's coronation or the first American manned suborbital spaceflight could be transmitted across the world for the first time.

      The earth satellite station in Cornwall was built by the GPO, who chose the site because it was flat, gave a clear view of the horizon, and its hard rock surface could take the weight of the 1,118-tonne dish (officially named Antenna 1, but nicknamed Arthur). The first television pictures were received via the satellite and broadcast to viewers of BBC1. Brian Oakes, one of the Post Office engineers involved, said the staff were "very relieved" the equipment worked, as "… it had never been made to work in that way before. We had only tested it 20 miles away at Land's End."

    • Key outcomes at a glance.

      • The first satellite transatlantic communication.
      • BT recognised as a key collaborator in the development of global cutting-edge communications.
      • After the success of the Cornwall earth satellite station, BT established a new satellite earth station at Madeley in Herefordshire, currently believed to be the largest in the world.
    • Key benefits at a glance.

      • Provision of accessible voice and data services to BT customers worldwide.
      • Opening up communication and trade opportunities.
      • Enabling continued collaboration between UK and the USA.
    • Connected content.

  • 1968

    The world's first digital exchange.

    The General Post Office research lab designed Empress Exchange, taking us a step closer to a telecommunications system that could handle voice, vision and data traffic.

    • What this meant for our customers.

      With the development of the world's first digital exchange, telephony changed fundamentally, for the better. The concept of digital switching was developed in the United States and in Europe from the 1930s onwards, but the first digital switch placed into a public network was at the Empress Exchange in London. Developed by BT research labs – then the General Post Office – this was a tandem switch that connected three exchanges in the London area.

      Digital switches connect two or more digital circuits and help co-ordinate telephone calls. Modern networks around the world are now moving over to internet-based, voice-over IP technologies. From inception, digital telephony gave users a much better service, and as technologies evolve, new ways of digital communication keep opening up.

    • Key outcomes at a glance.

      • Access to clear, reliable phone services for everyone.
      • Became the foundation of the majority of the UK's voice network to this day.
      • Enable greater speed and cost efficiencies.
    • Key benefits at a glance.

      • Removal of manual intervention in switching calls.
      • Faster, simpler more accurate connectivity.
      • Modern SIP services offer much cheaper, more scalable, higher quality services.
    • Connected content.

  • 1973

    Ethernet – the introduction of the world's first modern communications system.

    Our ethernet fibre network uses standard Ethernet network technology and gives our customers geographic coverage second to none.

    • What this meant for our customers.

      Wherever we are, and whenever we choose, the ethernet has enabled all of us to communicate remotely, without having to share equipment or location. Our customers have a wide choice of high bandwidth, permanently connected, point-to-point ethernet services designed to help extend their networks, and offer their own customers a range of high quality services.

      Ethernet is replacing legacy data transmission systems across the world's telecommunications network, and it's here to stay.

    • Key outcomes at a glance.

      • Has become the most popular and most widely deployed network technology in the world.
      • Evolved to meet new bandwidth and market requirements, and is used across all industries.
      • Replacing legacy data transmission systems across the world's telecommunications network.
    • Key benefits at a glance.

      • Able to quickly adapt to market realities.
      • Uses an inexpensive, universal way of wiring, bringing speed, cost savings and innovation.
      • Higher bandwidth, improved media access control methods, and access to different physical media.
      • Allows a single computer to use multiple protocols together.
      • Eliminating the need for installation of a separate network card, with most manufacturers.
    • Connected content.

  • 1979

    The world's first optical fibre submarine cable.

    In January 1980, the world's first purpose-designed optical fibre submarine cable was laid in Loch Fyne, Scotland by the GPO. This was the first concrete step towards high-speed data transmission.

    • What this meant for our customers.

      In the early fifties, high-speed data transmission had become a real possibility, and BT – then part of the GPO – started exploring the potential of optical fibre communications. In 1977, research scientists and engineers began sending live telephone traffic through fibres in underground ducts at BT's research and development laboratories, but it wasn't until the early 1980s that optical fibre cabling made a real impact. At one time, more than a thousand BT researchers and engineers were working on fibre. Spearheaded by BT this was the foundation of today's fibre revolution in the UK.

      The GPO trials in Loch Fyne in Argyll, in 1979, proved that the cable could withstand the mechanical stresses involved in laying, and didn't lose the stability needed for effective transmission. By 1986, the first international system was installed across the English Channel to link the United Kingdom and Belgium. In 1988, the first trans-oceanic fibre-optic cable was installed. This was the first time submarine cables started to outperform satellites in terms of the volume, speed and economics of data and voice communications. Today, a modern fibre-optic cable – which is no thicker than a garden hose – can transport vast amounts of data and is capable of handling literally millions of simultaneous telephone calls.

    • Key outcomes at a glance.

      • Faster communication across vast distances.
      • Enabled the transportation of much more voice and data than before.
      • Linked the UK with the rest of the world via cable not just satellite.
    • Key benefits at a glance.

      • Transports vast amounts of data and voice incredibly quickly.
      • Significant cost savings as optical fibres are often cheaper to lay than copper cables.
      • Decreased risk of fire as the cables don't carry electricity.
    • Connected content.

  • 1981

    The formation of British Telecom – BT as we know it today.

    British Telecom – the world's oldest telecommunications company, dating back to The Electric Telegraph Company of 1846 – was established.

    • What this meant for our customers.

      Having been renamed the previous year, British Telecommunications (trading as British Telecom) became independent of the Post Office in 1981. Three years later, more than 50 per cent of its shares were sold to the public and this commercial freedom allowed it to set up new joint ventures and manufacture its own equipment.

      Since then BT has achieved many firsts, like delivering the 21st Century network in the UK. We've acquired a range of different organisations, including EE which has transformed our ability to deliver mobile services, launched our own TV service, driven internal carbon reduction, and signed the world's largest renewable energy deal with npower. We've also continued to support a wide range of charity services, raising over £740m. In 2002 the company combined a number of ventures, assets and subsidiary businesses into BT. Between 2002 and 2009, BT made a string of acquisitions to expand our global footprint and broaden our business offer to customers. Today we offer services in over 180 countries. We count market-leading organisations in every sector as our customers, and offer them a complete end-to-end managed service.

    • Key outcomes at a glance.

      • High profile privatisation and increase in company stakeholders.
      • Recognised innovation in network and service delivery.
      • Expanded global footprint, services and solutions.
    • Key benefits at a glance.

      • Bringing communication and IT services to the UK and across the world.
      • Recognised by analysts and customers as a market leading supplier of IT services.
      • Plays a leading role in the development of the latest technologies including NFV/SDN.
    • Connected content.

  • 1990

    The birth of the World Wide Web.

    The formation of the internet and the World Wide Web have transformed the world of communications, leading to the modern digital society we live in today.

    • What this meant for our customers.

      The internet and the world wide web underpin the range of telecomms we offer today. Internet use grew rapidly in the West from the mid-1990s, and from the late 1990s in the developing world. In the 20 years since 1995, it's grown 100-times to over one third of the world's population.

      Since 1995 the internet has fundamentally changed everything from culture to commerce, including the rise of near instant communication. Emails, instant messaging, telephony, two-way interactive video calls, and the World Wide Web with its discussion forums, blogs, social networking, and online shopping sites – our customers use all these channels to communicate every minute of every day, whether for business or personal use. During the late 1990s, traffic on the public internet grew by 100% per year. It's estimated that in 1993 the internet carried 1% of the information flowing through two-way telecommunication; by 2000 this figure had grown to 51%, and by 2007 more than 97% of all telecommunicated information was carried over the internet.

    • Key outcomes at a glance.

      • Establishment of the internet as today's main channel of communication.
      • Use of the World Wide Web as standard.
      • Transformation of the way we communicate, shop, learn, write, watch, read, live.
      • Creation of new industries, some of which are now the largest in the world.
    • Key benefits at a glance.

      • Speed and quality of communication.
      • E-commerce across the world.
      • Mass sharing of data at the touch of a button.
    • Connected content.

  • 1999

    High performance from BT with MPLS.

    Our Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) can connect your global enterprise in one of the fastest, most efficient ways possible by carrying data across network nodes.

    • What this meant for our customers.

      MPLS is the foundation of the majority of major network solutions we have provided for more than a decade. It's based on short path labels rather than long network addresses, avoiding complex lookups in a routing table and has been the key platform for transferring data and voice between connected sites.

      We believe MPLS still has a huge part to play in the future of networking, but networks are constantly changing. We've seen the move to hybrid-based solutions, which combine the advantages of MPLS with the advantages of the internet. MPLS itself is also changing; the use of new access methods and the move to virtualise services mean it can be delivered more quickly, with more control and adaptability. The move to cloud services shouldn't reduce the reliance on MPLS, as cloud services delivered on an MPLS solution are likely to perform better and more securely than on an internet-based solution. New NFV (network function virtualisation) solutions mean that services such as acceleration and security – which used to require a hardware deployment – can now be delivered with the flick of a switch on a central portal. MPLS helps our customers unlock their full business potential, and is going to be a key part of our network solutions for many years to come.

    • Key outcomes at a glance.

      • MPLS offers high quality, secure network services for organisations across the world from the largest to small businesses.
      • MPLS offers secure connectivity for data, applications and voice.
      • MPLS is flexible and adapts to meet the requirements of the modern network. the modern network.
    • Key benefits at a glance.

      • Platform to deliver network and now cloud services.
      • Ability to carry huge amounts of data across the globe.
      • A flexible and secure solution supporting a wide range of access services and technologies.
    • Connected content.

  • 2011

    The creation of NFV/SDN services.

    BT is embracing the new virtualisation technologies of NFV and SDN. Investment in new technology is making it increasingly viable to deploy network function virtualisation (NFV) – effectively software that runs on industry-standard hardware. Software-defined networking (SDN) allows network administrators to remotely manage network services without the need to directly access customer hardware.

    • What this means for our customers.

      NFV/SDN services enable our networks to be more flexible, more adaptable and often with lower hardware costs. We have been there since the inception of these technologies. NFV was born out of open innovation between BT, Intel, HP, WindRiver, Tail-F, Ineoquest and Verivue in 2011, where we worked together to demonstrate a proof of concept. In June 2012 the results of a BT-led joint proof of concept published at the Carrier Cloud Conference resulted in the names NFV – Network Function Virtualisation – being termed. As a direct result, carriers decided to build a new forum within ETSI – the NFV Industry Specification Group. We have an NFV test bed at our laboratories, and have been running tests with vendors such as ADVA, Cisco, HP and Huawei to name a few.

      NFV and SDN can deliver new improved services, a better experience on existing services, and simpler services that don't require local technical support. We haven't yet identified all the ways we can incorporate NFV/SDN across our network services, but our customers are already feeling the benefits. Currently, we can offer NFV-based technologies such as cloud acceleration and cloud security, and also Connect Intelligence IWAN. Our innovative technical roadmap outlines our plans to deliver many more NFV/SDN services over the coming months and years, and we're confident we'll continue to deliver huge benefits to our customers – cost efficiencies, speedy delivery, adaptability and agility.

    • Key outcomes at a glance.

      • Agile network solutions.
      • Delivery of virtual services with flexible commercials.
      • Greater control and global reach.
    • Key benefits at a glance.

      • New and previously unexpected simplified services.
      • More flexible, adaptable solutions which can be deployed simply from the centre rather than by local technicians.
      • Lower hardware costs where solutions are delivered via software rather than boxes shipped to site.
      • Greater customer involvement and control.
    • Connected content.

  • 2015

    BT launches our Cloud of Clouds strategy – bringing Cloud services together.

    Our Cloud Services Integrator model brings together a range of different cloud services to bring the benefits of cloud directly to our customers.

    • What has changed for our customers.

      For organisations grappling with the move to a cloud-based infrastructure, one kind of cloud isn't enough, and one service provider can't access all the applications and services they need. Our Cloud Services Integrator answers customer concerns about securing both data and network, helps manage hybrid clouds, retains control with self-service options, complies with regulation, and assures end-user performance. It also gives customers access to the right skills and market-specific capabilities, and a unique business community.

    • Key outcomes at a glance.

      • Access to the full scale of the BT network, security expertise and relationships with global specialist partners.
      • Move towards the cloud-enabled economy.
      • Continuing evolution of services as BT embraces the emerging technologies of network function virtualisation (NFV) and software defined networks (SDN).
    • Key benefits at a glance.

      • Easy, secure connectivity to global applications and data
      • See and manage application performance dynamically across a hybrid network
      • Route traffic optimally in real time
      • Switch on firewall, acceleration and optimisation with one click
      • All supported by infrastructure, platform, tools, people, experience and relationships.
    • Connected content.

  • 2016

    BT launches Connect Intelligence IWAN.

    BT Connect Intelligence IWAN is the first global IWAN solution, enabling you to network like never before. Virtualised networking on a global scale – straight out of the box.

    • What this means for our customers.

      BT Connect Intelligence IWAN is an innovative new service that enables our customers to view application performance, automatically route network traffic, and optimise it without spending any more on bandwidth. Based on Cisco technology, Connect Intelligence IWAN embeds the router at the customer site on a BT network. Customers can now access the full suite of NFV/SDN functionality from just one box, with all functions controlled by software. They can see and dynamically manage their apps and their hybrid networks, their WAN and their internet. And they can route traffic optimally in real time, switching on firewall, acceleration and optimisation with one click.

      BT Connect Intelligence IWAN is fully integrated into our operating systems and offers a fully managed service. This gives the user advanced, centralised reporting on a global basis, and improved functionality and control tailored to specific customer needs. We support you every step of the way; we provide the expertise which makes sure your IWAN solution is a success.

    • Key outcomes at a glance.

      • A network that's more flexible, adaptable and controllable.
      • Estimated cost reductions of up to 30%, compared to alternative strategies.
      • Offloading of up to 70% of traffic which is non-essential to the Internet, giving critical applications priority on VPN – keeping the network open for business.
      • Optimising traffic across hybrid networks, using real-time information.
      • Fewer engineer visits and more self-service.
    • Key benefits at a glance.

      • Management from BT ensures the service delivers on its promise.
      • Avoids cost and hassle of integrating a range of services from multiple vendors.
      • Includes advanced, centralised reporting across the globe.
      • Offers full visibility and control of both application and network performance.
      • Provides real-time analytics for proactive network management globally.
      • Enables customers to turn services on and off via a personalised portal, pay as you go, and try before you buy.
    • Connected content.

  • 2016

    BT buys EE.

    BT customers benefit from the combined power of fibre broadband and superfast 4G mobile

    • What this means for our customers.

      The UK's biggest and fastest mobile network, EE pioneered the UK's first superfast 4G mobile service in October 2012 and were the first European operator to surpass 14million 4G customers. EE's 4G coverage reaches more than 95% of the UK population, while 3G reaches 98%. In February 2015, BT announced intention and agreement to acquire EE for £12.5 billion, and received final regulatory approval from the Competition and Markets Authority to complete the transaction in January 2016.

      This merger means that in the UK we can give our customers the best network solution combined with the best mobile solution. We are integrating EE into our network services to offer new forms of access that can be delivered in days. We'll use mobile in hybrid network solutions, enabling the offloading of low priority traffic onto the internet, and freeing up customer WAN for higher priority transactions and traffic.

    • Key outcomes at a glance.

      • Combination of the best network and mobile services.
      • Greater network reach and faster site set up.
      • Commercial flexibility across a complete IT solution including mobile.
    • Key benefits at a glance.

      • Access to mobile technology in SD-WAN network services.
      • Enhanced mobile connectivity enables users to offload low priority traffic onto the internet.
      • Service set-up in days rather than months using mobile technology.
    • Connected content.

  • 2016

    Cloud Connect Extra.

    BT Cloud Connect Extra offers a suite of innovative cloud services – initially targeted exclusively at financial firms.

    • What this means for our customers.

      BT Cloud Connect Extra is BT's market-leading "as-a-service" approach to high performance cloud networking. Its innovative use of SDN (Software Defined Networking) and NFV (Network Functions Virtualisation) will transform the way financial firms build and operate private or hybrid networks.

      In addition, Cloud Connect Extra will provide a number of essential, value-added, network-centric services such as Clock Synchronisation and Data Analytics, which are securely embedded in the cloud. Customers can access these whenever they need to, and will receive a level of performance they might expect from a bespoke solution. Access to BT Cloud Connect Extra services is through a customer self-service portal, which uses our industry-leading cloud management system to manage end-to-end service activation in real-time.

    • Key outcomes at a glance.

      • Secure, customisable access on a scalable single platform, to all of our products and services
      • Enhanced performance and connectivity to the major financial data centres in the London metropolitan area
      • Improved flexibility and the option to use additional bandwidth for contractual durations as short as an hour to handle any peak loads
      • Customer self-service through our market-leading, self-service portal providing billing, user account management and on-demand services
      • Cloud Connect Extra is built from the ground up with regulation in mind to meet future and current requirements.
    • Key benefits at a glance.

      • Gives customers the flexibility to build their own networks between data centres, buildings and any partner locations
      • Precision timing through the cloud, using Precision Time Protocol (PTP) as the time transfer method. This is accurate to sub-microseconds and is required by finance organisations for all transactions
      • Connections within the network can be delivered on demand, much quicker than any normal network connection
      • Analytics which are built based on the needs of financial organisations and provide detailed real-time understanding of network performance, order entry protocols and market data feeds. They also give users the ability to forecast future performance based on data trends.
      • Ability to forensically search, retrieve and analyse the package data from the network
    • Connected content.

  • 2016

    Quick Summary

    BT are world leaders at Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), is a subatomic optical technology for distributing security keys securely over optical fibre links. Using this technique, the key cannot be intercepted and so any data encrypted by this key would be secure. In QKD, the security key can be refreshed many times per second (e.g. up to 1 million) making it impossible for data decryption. The keys are transported by single photons and consequently cannot be intercepted: if they are intercepted then they don't reach the other end and are not used to form a key. Also, an eavesdropper cannot go undetected as any attempt to measure a photon results in changing their state irreversibly

    BT are world leaders in QKD and were the world's first in transmitting fully encrypted data with quantum keys at 10Gb/s using commercial hardware over 20Km and then transmitting fully encrypted data with quantum keys at 100Gb/s using commercial hardware over 100 Km.

  • 2016/2017

    Cloud service developments.

    Expanding our cloud services offering to keep our customers at the forefront of technology.

    • What this means for our customers.

      Our cloud services are unique in the market. Through our Cloud of Clouds strategy we deliver a range of cloud services, which combine our wide range of network services and global reach with cloud services such as direct connectivity to third party providers including Microsoft, Salesforce and AWS.

      Future developments include the expansion of the number of our cloud nodes across the globe, and direct connectivity to new cloud providers. We will also add zero-touch faster turn-up of value added services. It'll become easier to deploy and flex cloud services by enhancing our MyAccount portal to deploy services in the touch of a few buttons. Further down the line is delivery of SDN overlays for service-chaining within the service nodes.

    • Key outcomes at a glance

      • Improved cloud connectivity performance through closer connectivity to customer locations.
      • Benefits of direct connectivity from more third party providers.
      • Simpler deployment of cloud services reducing the need for more highly trained technicians.
    • Key benefits at a glance.

      • Zero touch orchestration.
      • New service nodes across the globe.
      • Direct connectivity to new third party cloud providers.
      • Complete customer control through our MyAccount portal.
    • Connected content.