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Digital switching
By the end of the 1960s the technology for digital switching had been tried and proven. The Post Office was ready to transform Britain's telephone network from analogue into digital based on electronics and binary data transmission.

This would turn out to be one of the biggest and most ambitious investment projects in its history - and would make Britain's telecomms network into one of the most advanced in the world.
Smarter phones
The switch to electronic and digital networks coincided with two other trends in technology - the miniaturisation of devices and the tumbling cost of processing.

As networks were getting smarter, so too were the phones and other devices being attached to those networks.

Before long, telephone users were able to do a range of things they'd never been able to before.
Video from the phone
Television proved it was possible to send moving pictures along wires. This raised the further possibility of what had always sounded like a great idea - videophones on which callers could see as well as talk to each other. But there were some problems with that vision.

There was a technical problem. Television pictures carry a lot of signal information - more than ordinary phone lines can accommodate.

There was a human issue, too. The truth is that people don't always want to be seen on the phone. But it took the pioneers of videophones a little while to learn that lesson.
fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

featured story

100 years of automatic switching!
In 1912 the GPO installed Britain's first automatic telephone exchange in Epsom.

Discover the early days of the telephone...