A Potted History of Bt

By: Matt Sharp

Today, I take a look at the history of one of the biggest telecoms companies in history: BT.

Early history of BT

Absolutely no-one reading this will be able to remember far back enough to remember the very beginnings of the company that would become BT. If you do, congratulations on being at least 162 years old, as the very first roots of BT can be traced back to 1846, with the creation of the Electric Telegraph Company. Yep, that's right, telegrams, just like you see in the old Westerns. You know the kind. Send help stop village overrun stop buffalos have eaten Kevin stop.

After being nationalised, the next big thing to happen in the history of BT was undoutbedly BT's ownership by the Post Office, something that was in effect until the 80's. most people today seem to have forgotten that one of the biggest telecoms companies in existence was originally part of the humble (or not so humble, as the case may be) Post Office!

BT in the 70's & 80's - the Buzby Years

After splitting formally from the Post Office, BT then became British Telecom, and the period began by being known as "The Buzby Period" (at least to those of us who were there!) Yes, the company that would be BT were advertised round the country, by a big, yellow canary. Voiced by the voice of the Wombles, himself, Bernard Cribbins!

You have to admit, as marketing campaigns go, it was a good'n!!

That spate of inspired advertising continued with Maureen Lipman's famous "Beattie" adverts (come on, who doesn't remember the "You get an ology, you're a scientist!" line?!) followed by the equally infamous Bob Hoskins "It's good to talk" adverts. And all the time, BT, as they would soon become officially known, were still developing their networks, developing their brand, their company, and everything about themselves, to be one of the big boys in the world of telecoms.

The modern world - BT goes globals

So, where does BT stand in the modern world? How well do they stack up against the vast range of other telecoms providers out there? Well, they hold up very well, thank you very much! Not only is the BT phone division doing very well with its "Together" proposition, but BT broadband is also storming the world. Throw in BT Vision to crack the TV market, along with BT Mobile, for mobile phones, and they really do have all bases covered. It's no wonder BT are one of the biggest and best providers in the world!

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