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Hosted by the then-Vice President of Bell Labs, Ian Ross, this short film gives an overview of major improvements that Bell Labs brought to the entire Bell System during that year. (In the film, the then-President at Bell Labs William O. Baker gives the postscript.)

Those improvements include the computer monitoring brought to the Network Operations Center in New Jersey (later to become the Global Network Operations Center), and various systems for computerizing basic business operations like accessing customer data for customer service reps. Other implementations of Bell Labs' technology that year: "ACTS", the automatic coin calculation and robot voice system for pay phones, and systems that increased the number of calls that could go over the existing microwave long-distance network. 1977 also saw further developments to lightwave (fiber optic) cable systems, which were finally being tested citywide in Chicago. Ross also explains — teases, almost — the very first tests of cellular phone service in the United States, which were conducted in Newark, NJ and Chicago, IL.

Ross had a varied career within the Bell System, from managing BellComm to heading the Semiconductor Laboratory (he was originally hired by William Shockley himself). Ross was president of Bell Labs from 1979 to 1991.

Footage Courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ


Release date: 08/29/2012





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