History & Growth of Calcutta Telephones
Alexander Graham Bell patented the first Telephone instrument capable of practical use in 1876. This method was used in the first commercial instrument developed by Bell in 1876. In 1878, the first telephone exchange was established at New Haven.
In 1880, two Telephone Companies viz. The Oriental Telephone Company Ltd. and The Anglo-Indian Telephone Company Ltd. approached the Govt. of India for permission to establish Telephone Exchanges in India. The permission was however refused on the grounds that the establishment of Telegraphs was a Government monopoly and that the Government itself would undertake the work in the event of sufficient demand.
By 1881, Govt. of India changed their earlier decision and licence was granted to the original Oriental Telephone Company Limited of England for opening Telephone Exchanges at Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Karachi and Ahmedabad.
28th January, 1882 is a Red Letter Day in the history of Telephones in India. On this day Major E. Baring, Member of the Governor General's Council declared open the Telephone Exchange in Calcutta, Madras and Bombay. The exchange at Calcutta named "Central Exchange" was opened at third floor of the building at 7, Council House Street. On 30-06-1882, the Central Telephone Exchange had 93 number of subscribers.
In 1899, The Central Telephone Exchange wsa shifted to 1, Council House Street. The management of the Oriental Telephone Company was subsequently taken over by Bengal Telephone Company Limited. The telephone system in the city remained under management of Private Company till 1941 when all the shares of the Private company were purchased by a Public Enterprise. The capital expenditure involved in this deal was Rs 117 lakhs only.
From 1st April 1943, the control of the Telephone system in Calcutta,Madras and Bombay was taken over directly by the Indian Posts and Telegraphs Deptt. In 1985, Indian P & T was bifurcated and the control of Telephone has been transferred to Deptt. Of Telecom.
At the time of Independence there were 20,000 phone connections in Kolkata. The figure rose to 5,00,000 by March 18, 1997 and crossed 1 million by February 27, 2000.
CTD is the first metro network in the country to become fully electronic on 31-03-99 and is the first metro network in the country to become fully digital on 31-03-2000.
On 01-10-2000 , the telephone system of Calcutta came under Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) alongwith all other circles except the city of Delhi and Mumbay which are under Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL).
Calcutta Telephone District CTD) is the largest metro district of BSNL. Calcutta Telephones is having a service area of 1900 sq. k.m. covering the city of Kolkata and adjoining areas from five districts of West Bengal viz. Howrah, Hooghly, Nadia, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas.
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