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BT GROUP PLC (trading as BT) is a holding company which owns BRITISH TELECOMMUNICATIONS PLC, a British multinational telecommunications services company with head offices in London, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
. It has operations in around 180 countries.

BT's origins date back to the founding of the Electric Telegraph Company in 1846 which developed a nationwide communications network. In 1912, the General Post Office , a government department, became the monopoly telecoms supplier in the United Kingdom. The Post Office Act of 1969 led to the GPO becoming a public corporation. British Telecommunications, trading as British Telecom, was formed in 1980, and became independent of the Post Office in 1981. British Telecommunications was privatised in 1984, becoming British Telecommunications plc, with some 50 percent of its shares sold to investors. The Government sold its remaining stake in further share sales in 1991 and 1993. BT has a primary listing on the London
London
Stock Exchange , a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange
New York Stock Exchange
, and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index
FTSE 100 Index
.

BT controls a number of large subsidiaries. BT Global Services division supplies telecoms services to corporate and government customers worldwide, and its BT Consumer division supplies telephony , broadband , and subscription television services in Great Britain to around 18 million customers. BT announced in February 2015 that it had agreed to acquire EE for £12.5 billion, and received final regulatory approval from the Competition and Markets Authority on 15 January 2016. The transaction was completed on 29 January 2016.

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 1.1 1878 to 1969 * 1.2 Public corporation * 1.3 1969 to 1982 * 1.4 1982 to 1991 * 1.5 1991 to 2001 * 1.6 2001 to 2006 * 1.7 2007 to 2012 * 1.8 2013 to present

* 2 Operations

* 3 Corporate affairs

* 3.1 Headquarters

* 3.2 Divisions

* 3.2.1 Openreach
Openreach

* 3.3 Financial performance * 3.4 Pension fund * 3.5 Sponsorships

* 4 Environmental record

* 5 Controversies

* 5.1 Abuse of monopoly position and underinvestment in infrastructure * 5.2 Undermining of National Security * 5.3 World Wide Web
World Wide Web
hyperlink patent * 5.4 Behavioural targeting * 5.5 Alleged complicity with drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia

* 6 See also * 7 References * 8 Further reading * 9 External links

HISTORY

BT's origins date back to the establishment of the first telecommunications companies in Britain. Among them was the first commercial telegraph service , the Electric Telegraph Company , established in 1846. As these companies amalgamated and were taken over or collapsed, the remaining companies were transferred to state control under the Post Office in 1912. These companies were merged and rebranded as British Telecom.

1878 TO 1969

The BT Tower
BT Tower
, originally the Post Office Tower, constructed between 1961 and 1964

In January 1878 Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell
demonstrated his recently developed telephone to Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria
at Osborne House
Osborne House
on the Isle of Wight . A few days later the first telephone in Britain was installed, under licence from the General Post Office, by engineers from David Moseley and Sons, to connect the Dantzic Street premises of Manchester
Manchester
hardware merchant, Mr. John Hudson, with his other premises in nearby Shudehill. As the number of installed telephones across the country grew it became sensible to consider constructing telephone exchanges to allow all the telephones in each city to be connected together. The first exchange was opened in London
London
in August 1879, closely followed by the Lancashire Telephonic Exchange in Manchester. From 1878, the telephone service in Britain was provided by private sector companies such as the National Telephone Company , and later by the General Post Office. In 1896, the National Telephone Company was taken over by the General Post Office. In 1912 it became the primary supplier of telecommunications services, after the Post Office took over the private sector telephone service in GB, except for a few local authority services. Those services all folded within a few years, the sole exception being Kingston upon Hull
Kingston upon Hull
, where the telephone department became present day KCOM Group .

PUBLIC CORPORATION

Converting the Post Office into a nationalised industry, as opposed to a governmental department, was first discussed in 1932 by Lord Wolmer. In 1932 the Bridgeman Committee produced a report that was rejected. In 1961, more proposals were ignored. The Post Office remained a department of central government, with the Postmaster General sitting in Cabinet as a Secretary of State .

In March 1965, Tony Benn
Tony Benn
, the acting Postmaster General , wrote to Harold Wilson , the Prime Minister, proposing that studies be undertaken aimed at converting the Post Office into a nationalised industry . A committee was set up to look into the advantages and disadvantages of the proposal, and its findings were found to be favourable enough for the Government to re-establish a Steering Group on the Organisation of the Post Office. After some initial deliberations that the business should be divided into five divisions; Post , Telecommunications, Savings , Giro and National Data Processing Services, it was decided that there should be two: Post and Telecommunications. These events finally resulted in the introduction of the Post Office Act, 1969.

On 1 October 1969, under the Post Office Act of 1969, the Post Office ceased to be a government department and it became established as a public corporation . The Act gave the Post Office the exclusive privilege of operating telecommunications systems with listed powers to authorise others to run such systems. Effectively, the General Post Office retained its telecommunications monopoly.

1969 TO 1982

The British Telecom "T" symbol logo, used from 1980 to 1991

In 1977, the Carter Committee Report recommended a further division of the two main services and for their relocation under two individual corporations. The findings contained in the report led to the renaming of Post Office Telecommunications as British Telecommunications (trading as British Telecom) in 1980, although it remained part of the Post Office.

The British Telecommunications Act 1981 transferred the responsibility for telecommunications services from the Post Office, creating two separate corporations, Post Office Ltd. and British Telecommunications. At this time the first steps were taken to introduce competition into British telecommunications industry. In particular, the Act empowered the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, as well as British Telecommunications, to license other operators to run public telecommunications systems. Additionally, a framework was established which enabled the Secretary of State to set standards with the British Standards Institution (BSI) for apparatus supplied to the public by third parties, and had the effect of requiring British Telecommunications to connect approved apparatus to its systems. The Secretary of State made use of these new powers and began the process of opening up the apparatus supply market, where a phased programme of liberalisation was started in 1981. In 1982, a licence was granted to Cable "> The BT brand and piper logo were introduced in 1991. The logo remained until 2003.

On 2 April 1991, the company started using a new trading name, BT, and branding.

In June 1994, BT and MCI Communication Corporation , the second largest carrier of long distance telecommunications services in the United States, launched Concert Communications Services , a $1 billion joint venture company. This alliance gave BT and MCI a global network for providing end-to-end connectivity for advanced business services. Concert was the first company to provide a single-source broad portfolio of global communications services for multinational customers. On 3 November 1996, BT and MCI announced they had entered into a merger agreement to create a global telecommunications company called Concert plc, to be incorporated in GB, with headquarters in both London
London
and Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
As part of the alliance BT acquired a 20% holding in MCI. Nevertheless, following US carrier WorldCom 's rival bid for MCI on 1 October 1997, BT ultimately decided in November, to sell its stake in MCI to WorldCom for $7 billion. The deal with WorldCom resulted in a profit of more than $2 billion on BT's original investment in MCI, with an additional $465 million severance fee for the break-up of the proposed merger.

In December 2000, following modifications to BT's licence in April 2000, BT offered local loop unbundling (LLU) to other telecommunications operators, enabling them to use BT's copper local loops (the connection between the customer's premises and the exchange) to connect directly with their customers.

2001 TO 2006

BT offices in Madrid
Madrid
, Spain
Spain

Following the dot com crash , the group undertook a board restructuring and asset sale to address its large debts. In May 2001, BT announced a three-for-ten rights issue to raise £5.9 billion—still GB's largest ever rights issue—and the sale of Yell Group , the international directories and associated e-commerce business, for £2.14 billion. Both activities were completed in June 2001. The group also sold its property portfolio to Telereal , a property company.

BT renamed its BT Wireless division as O2 in September 2001, and confirmed it planned to demerge the unit in November that year. Shareholders approved the demerger at an extraordinary general meeting held in Birmingham in October 2001, with 4.297 billion British Telecommunications shares voted in favour, and 0.67 million voted against. BT Wireless demerged in 2001, and was relaunched on 18 June 2002 as O2. O2 was acquired by Telefónica in 2005.

In April 2003, BT unveiled its current corporate identity, known as the "Connected World", and brand values. Reflecting the aspirations of a technologically innovative future, the connected world is designed to embody BT's five corporate values: trustworthy, helpful, inspiring, straightforward, heart. The globe device part of the logo was originally designed by the Wolff Olins brand consultancy for BT's Concert joint venture with AT while at the same time BT confirmed that it had been approached by EE to also buy that company. BT confirmed on 15 December 2014 that it had entered into exclusive talks to buy EE. BT confirmed on 5 February 2015 that it had agreed to buy EE for £12.5 billion, subject to regulatory approval. The deal will combine BT's 10 million retail customers and EE's 24.5 million direct mobile subscribers. Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom
will own 12% of BT, while Orange S.A. will own 4%.

In March 2015, launched a 4G service as BT Mobile BT Group
BT Group
CEO Gavin Patterson announced that BT plans to migrate all of its customers onto the IP network by 2025, switching off the company's ISDN
ISDN
network.

On 15 January 2016, BT received final unconditional approval by the Competition and Markets Authority to acquire EE . The deal was officially completed on 29 January 2016 with Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom
now owning 12% of BT, while Orange S.A. own 4%.

On 1 February 2016, BT announced a new organisational structure that will take effect from April 2016 following the successful acquisition of EE . The EE brand, network and high street stores will be retained and will become a second consumer division, operating alongside BT Consumer . It will serve customers with mobile services, broadband and TV and will continue to deliver the Emergency Services Network contract which was awarded to EE in late 2015. There will be a new BT Business and Public Sector division that will have around £5bn of revenues and will serve small and large businesses as well as the public sector in the UK and Ireland . It will comprise the existing BT Business division along with EE's business division and those parts of BT Global Services that are UK focused. There will also be another new division; BT Wholesale and Ventures that will comprise the existing BT Wholesale division along with EE's MVNO business as well as some specialist businesses such as Fleet, Payphones and Directories. Gerry McQuade, currently Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Business at EE, will be its CEO.

On 11 February 2016, BT announced they will be launching a new free service later in 2016 to divert nuisance calls within its network before they ring on customers' phones and will use huge computing power to root out 25 million unwanted calls a week. BT customers can currently purchase special phones that will allow them to block nuisance calls or pay to stop calls getting through. However, the new service will identify some of the 5 billion unwanted calls made each year before they arrive, which will then be diverted automatically to a junk voicemail box. BT customers will also be able to add numbers they don't want to hear from to the blacklist, for free.

On 8 June 2017, BT appointed KPMG as its new auditor to replace PwC in the wake of the fraud scandal in Italy that triggered a major profit warning earlier this year. In last April, KPMG fired six US employees over a scandal that calls into question efforts to ensure that public company accounts are being properly scrutinised.

On 8 July 2017, The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph
reported that BT "has called in consultants from McKinsey
McKinsey
to conduct a review of its businesses in the hope of saving hundreds of millions of pounds per year. The work, dubbed 'Project Novator', is understood to include a potential merger of BT’s struggling global services corporate networking and IT unit with its business and public sector division". The word Novator is quite widely used so it does not necessarily imply a connection with any company using that name.

OPERATIONS

The Adastral Park campus at Martlesham Heath in Suffolk, the principal site of BT Research .

BT Group
BT Group
is a holding company ; the majority of its businesses and assets are held by its wholly owned subsidiary British Telecommunications plc. BT's businesses are operated under special government regulation by the British telecoms regulator Ofcom (formerly Oftel ). BT has been found to have significant market power in some markets following market reviews by Ofcom. In these markets, BT is required to comply with additional obligations such as meeting reasonable requests to supply services and not to discriminate.

BT runs the telephone exchanges , trunk network and local loop connections for the vast majority of British fixed-line telephones. Currently BT is responsible for approximately 28 million telephone lines in GB. Apart from KCOM Group , which serves Kingston upon Hull, BT is the only UK telecoms operator to have a Universal Service Obligation , (USO) which means it must provide a fixed telephone line to any address in the UK. It is also obliged to provide public call boxes.

As well as continuing to provide service in those traditional areas in which BT has an obligation to provide services or is closely regulated, BT has expanded into more profitable products and services where there is less regulation. These are principally, broadband internet service and bespoke solutions in telecommunications and information technology.

CORPORATE AFFAIRS

HEADQUARTERS

The BT Centre was completed in 1985. Main article: BT Centre

BT Group's world headquarters and registered office is the BT Centre, a 10-storey office building at 81 Newgate Street in the City of London , opposite St. Paul\'s tube station .

DIVISIONS

BT Group
BT Group
is organised into the following divisions:

* Customer facing:

* BT Global Services – provides telecoms and IT services to multinationals * BT Business – provides retail telecoms and IT services to UK SMEs

* BT Consumer – provides retail telecoms services to consumers including:

* BT Total Broadband * BT Infinity * BT TV * BT Sport
BT Sport
* BT Mobile * BT Wi-fi

* EE - provides mobile and fixed communications services to consumers, businesses, government and the wholesale market * BT Wholesale – operates BT's networks * Openreach
Openreach
– fenced-off wholesale division, responsible for the "last mile" of BT's access network in GB and tasked with ensuring that rival operators have equality of access to BT's local network

* Internal service unit:

* BT Technology, Service & Operations – responsible for the innovation, design, test, build and running of BT’s global networks and systems

* BT Research – part of the BT Technology, Service an actuarial valuation valued the deficit of the scheme at £9.043 billion as of 31 December 2008. Following a change in the regulations governing inflation index linking, the deficit was estimated at £5.2 billion in November 2010.

SPONSORSHIPS

BT sponsored Scotland's domestic rugby union championship and cup competitions between 1999 and 2006.

On 29 July 2013, it was announced that BT had partnered up with Scottish Rugby Union in a four-year sponsorship deal with its two professional clubs; Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors that will commence from August 2013. The deal involves BT Sport
BT Sport
becoming the new shirt sponsor for both clubs as well as being promoted with BT Group at their respective home grounds; Scotstoun Stadium and Murrayfield Stadium .

On 28 May 2014, it was announced that BT agreed a £20 million four-year sponsorship deal with Scottish Rugby Union which includes BT securing the naming rights for Murrayfield Stadium which becomes BT Murrayfield Stadium, become sponsor of the Scotland sevens team, become principal and exclusive sponsor of Scotland's domestic league and cup competitions from next season, taking over the role from The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS), and become sponsor of Scottish Rugby's four new academies that aims to drive forward standards for young players who have aspirations to play professionally.

In April 2015, it was announced that as part of BT's current £20 million four-year sponsorship deal with Scottish Rugby Union that was announced in May 2014, BT has completed its sponsorship portfolio following an additional investment of £3.6 million for the 3 years remaining of its sponsorship deal, to become the new shirt sponsor for the Scotland national teams.

BT is the founding and principal partner of the Wayne Rooney Foundation, which was established to improve the lives of children and young people. The Foundation will run events "to raise vital funds to support the work of key organisations dedicated to supporting disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people". These organisations are four chosen charities which are, Manchester
Manchester
United Foundation, NSPCC , Claire House Children\'s Hospice and Alder Hey Children\'s Hospital . The first of these events was Wayne’s testimonial match in August 2016 between Manchester
Manchester
United F.C. and Everton F.C.
Everton F.C.
which raised £1.2 million. The match was screened live through BT Sport
BT Sport
with BT MyDonate being the official fundraising platform for the testimonial, with both online and text options for donations promoted during the match.

ENVIRONMENTAL RECORD

In 2004 the BT Group
BT Group
signed the world's largest renewable energy deal with npower and British Gas , and now all of their exchanges, satellite networks and offices are powered by renewable energy. BT is a member of the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change. They signed a letter urging the government to do more to tackle this problem. Janet Blake, head of global corporate social responsibility at BT, says that she would like to see incentives that find ways of rewarding those companies that focus on climate change by making investments in green business models.

BT has made it clear that it has an ambitious plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Its strategy includes steps to reduce the company's carbon footprint as well as those of customers, suppliers and employees. BT has actually pledged to achieve an 80% reduction by the year 2016, which will require further efficiency improvements.

CONTROVERSIES

ABUSE OF MONOPOLY POSITION AND UNDERINVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE

BT have been accused of abusing their control of Openreach, underinvesting in the UK's broadband infrastructure, charging high prices and providing poor customer service. Openreach's services receive hundreds of thousands of complaints on an annual basis.

UNDERMINING OF NATIONAL SECURITY

This section needs to be UPDATED. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (April 2017)

Between 2010 and 2012 the UK intelligence community initiated an investigation aimed at Huawei
Huawei
, the foreign supplier of BT's new fibre infrastructure with increasing urgency after the USA, Canada and Australia prevented the company from operating in their countries. Although BT had notified the UK government in 2003 of Huawei's interest in their £10b network upgrade contract, they did not raise the security implications as BT failed to explain that the Chinese company would have unfettered access to critical infrastructure. On 16 December 2012 David Cameron was supplied with an in-depth report indicating that the intelligence services had very grave doubts regarding Huawei, and that the UK governmental, military, business community and private citizen's privacy may be under serious threat. Subsequently, BT's Infinity program and other projects are now under urgent review.

On 7 June 2013, British lawmakers concluded that BT should never have allowed the Chinese company access to the UK's critical communications network without ministerial oversight, saying they were 'deeply shocked' that BT did not inform government that they were allowing Huawei
Huawei
and ZTE, both foreign entities with ties to the Chinese military, unfettered access to critical national systems. Furthermore, ministers discovered that the agency with the responsibility to ensure Chinese equipment and code was threat-free was entirely staffed by Huawei
Huawei
employees. Subsequently, parliamentarians confirmed that in case of an attack on the UK there was nothing at this point that could be done to stop Chinese infiltration attacking critical national infrastructure.

ZTE
ZTE
, another Chinese company that supplies extensive network equipment and subscriber hardware to BT Infinity, was also under scrutiny by parliament's intelligence and security committee according to a report in the Guardian on Wednesday 10 October 2012 after the US, Canada, Australia and the European Union declared the company a security risk to its citizens.

WORLD WIDE WEB HYPERLINK PATENT

In 2001, BT discovered it owned a patent (U.S. Patent 4,873,662 ) which it believed gave it patent rights on the use of hyperlink technology on the World Wide Web
World Wide Web
. The corresponding UK patent had already expired, but the US patent was valid until 2006. On 11 February 2002, BT began a court case relating to its claims in a US federal court against the Internet service provider
Internet service provider
Prodigy Communications Corporation . In the case British Telecommunications plc v. Prodigy , the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled on 22 August 2002 that the BT patent was not applicable to web technology and granted Prodigy's request for summary judgment of non-infringement.

BEHAVIOURAL TARGETING

In early 2008 it was announced that BT had entered into a contract (along with Virgin Media
Virgin Media
and Talk Talk ) with the spyware company Phorm (responsible under their 121Media guise for the Apropos rootkit ) to intercept and analyse their users' click-stream data and sell the anonymised aggregate information as part of Phorm's OIX advertising service. The practice, known as "behavioural targeting " and condemned by critics as "data pimping", came under intense fire from various internet communities and other interested-parties who believe that the interception of data without the consent of users and web site owners is illegal under UK law (RIPA). At a more fundamental level, many have argued that the ISPs and Phorm
Phorm
have no right to sell a commodity (a user's data, and the copyright content of web sites) to which they have no claim of ownership. In response to questions about Phorm
Phorm
and the interception of data by the Webwise system Sir Tim Berners-Lee , credited as the creator of the World Wide Web
World Wide Web
protocol, indicated his disapproval of the concept and is quoted as saying of his data and web history:

It's mine – you can't have it. If you want to use it for something, then you have to negotiate with me. I have to agree, I have to understand what I'm getting in return. I myself feel that it is very important that my ISP supplies internet to my house like the water company supplies water to my house. It supplies connectivity with no strings attached. My ISP doesn't control which websites I go to, it doesn't monitor which websites I go to. — Sir Tim Berners-Lee, 2008

ALLEGED COMPLICITY WITH DRONE STRIKES IN YEMEN AND SOMALIA

In September 2012, BT entered into a $23 million deal with the US military to provide a key communications cable connecting RAF Croughton , a US military base on UK soil, with Camp Lemonnier , a large US base in Djibouti. Camp Lemonnier is used as a base for American drone attacks in Yemen and Somalia, and has been described by The Economist as "the most important base for drone operations outside the war zone of Afghanistan."

Human rights groups including Reprieve and Amnesty International
Amnesty International
have criticised the use of armed drones outside declared war zones. Evidence produced by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Stanford University
Stanford University
's International Human Rights border:solid #aaa 1px">

* London
London
portal * Companies portal

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FURTHER READING

* Baldwin, F.G.C. The History of the Telephone in the United Kingdom (1925) * Foreman-Peck, J. "The development and diffusion of telephone technology in Britain, 1900–1940," Transactions of the Newcomen Society, (1991–92). 63, pp165–180. * Foreman-Peck, J., & Millward, R. Public and private ownership of British industry 1820–1990 (1994). * Hazlewood, A. "The origins of the state telephone service in Britain" Oxford Economic Papers (1953). 5:13–25. in JSTOR * Holcombe, A. N. (1906). "The Telephone in Great Britain". Quarterly Journal of Economics. 21 (1): 96–135. JSTOR
JSTOR
1883751 . doi :10.2307/1883751 . * Johannessen, Neil. Ring up Britain: the Early Years of the Telephone in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(British Telecommunications plc, London, 1991) * Johnston, S. F. "The telephone in Scotland." in: K. Veitch, ed., Transport and Communications. Publications of the European Ethnological Research Centre; Scottish life and society: a compendium of Scottish ethnology (2009): pp. 716–727 online * Magill, Frank N. Great Events from History II: Business and Commerce Series, volume 1:1897-1923 (1994) pp 218–23; historiography * Meyer, Hugo Richard. Public Ownership and the Telephone in Great Britain: Restriction of the Industry by the State and the Municipalities (1907). online * Pitt, D.C. The telecommunications function in the British Post Office. A case study of bureaucratic adaption (Westmead: Saxon House, 1980). * Robertson, John Henry. The story of the telephone: A history of the telecommunications industry of Britain (1947) * Tucker, D. G. (1978). "The Early Development of the British Underground Trunk Telephone Network". Transactions of the Newcomen Society. 49: 57–74. doi :10.1179/tns.1977.005 . * Wetton, Jenny (2007). "The Early History of Telephony
Telephony
in Manchester, 1877–1898". Transactions of the Newcomen Society. 77 (2): 245–260. doi :10.1179/175035207x204833 .

EXTERNAL LINKS

* Official website * BT Group
BT Group
companies grouped at OpenCorporates

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