British Approvals Board for Telecommunications

British Approvals Board For Telecommunications

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British Approvals Board for Telecommunications

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The British Approvals Board for Telecommunications (BABT) is the world's leading Telecommunications Certification Body.


State monopoly

It was established in July 1982 by the UK government to provide type approval services to the telecommunications terminal industry. At that point in history, British Telecom was a state monopoly, and even by 1982 BT only allowed (via approval) the four British manufacturers (STC, GEC, Plessey, and Thorn-Ericsson) to supply its twenty five types of phone through them, and not independently. However around 200,000 unapproved, independently-bought phones were being used on the network. Loyalty to BT was of importance (commercially sensitive) to STC, Plessey and GEC as equipment for BT's exchange was made exclusively by them.

In the same year, BT was becoming more commercially-minded, opening up around one hundred new BT Phone Shops having become separated from the GPO through the British Telecommunications Act 1981 which also created the BABT. In 1982 there was a step-change in types of BT phones entering the market, and technology used for connecting phones, and the BABT was needed with a greater variety of phones than was previously available: BT was about to lose its monopoly on supplying phones.

Mechanism of approval

From July 1982, manufacturers could submit phones to be approved by BABT for a cost of £1,700, and if approved would carry the green circular label. The main four British suppliers of telephones were very wary...
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