Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Alexander Graham Bell, who resided most of his life in Nova Scotia, Canada, was granted a US patent (#7,789) for the telephone in 1877. Graham Bell assigned 75% of the Canadian patent rights to his father, Melville Bell, who, with a friend, Reverend Thomas Henderson, started up a business of leasing pairs of wooden hand telephones for use on private lines constructed by the client from, for example, store to warehouse or home to office. The Bell Telephone Company of Canada Ltd. (known as "The Bell", or "Bell Canada" for short) was founded in 1880 and granted a government monopoly on Canadian long distance telephone service. By 1914, the Bell Telephone Company serviced 237,000 subscribers.
Eventually there were two main companies in the telephone industry in Canada -- Bell Canada selling services and a division of AT&T, Northern Electric, making equipment. There was a parallel setup in the US -- AT&T selling phone services and Western Electric making the equipment.
In recent decades there have been a number of changes. Between 1980 and 1997, the telecommunications industry was fully deregulated and Bell Canada's monopoly ended, leaving it to provide local phone service only in Ontario and Quebec, not the rest of Canada. Because of the breakup of AT&T in the United States, Northern Electric became Northern Telecom, later renamed Nortel. Bell Canada currently services over 13 million phonelines, and functions under the brandname umbrella, "Bell".
Bell Canada has moved into new industries like Bell Sympatico, an Internet service provider, Bell Mobility, a cellular wireless service, and Bell ExpressVu, one of Canada's two national satellite television providers. The BCE corporation also owns the CTV television network and The Globe and Mail, a national newspaper as well as other media assets in what is known as Bell Globemedia, Canada's largest media corporation.
Other assets include satellite systems integrator Telesat Canada, Western Canada CLEC Bell West , and minority stakes in Aliant and IT service provider CGI. All in all, BCE partially or fully owns sixteen companies in the fields of telecommunications, media, and information technology.
Shifting their focus on IP, Bell has in recent years deployed MPLS on their nationwide fibre ring network in anticipation of upcoming consumer and enterprise-level IP applications, such as IPTV and VoIP.
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