On this day the first formal telephone service was established in Calcutta, Madras and Bombay.
The Calcutta exchange was named “Central Exchange” and opened on the third floor of 7 Council House Street. The Central Telephone Exchange had 93 subscribers initially, says the BSNL website.
In 1880, four years after Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone, two telephone companies had approached the British government in India for permission to establish telephone exchanges in India.
Permission was refused as the government felt that the establishment of the service was a government monopoly. But by 1881, the government had changed its mind and granted licence to the original Oriental Telephone Company Limited of England to start telephone exchanges in Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Karachi and Ahmedabad, the website adds.
Major E. Baring, member of the GovernorGeneral’s Council, had declared open the telephone exchange in Calcutta, Madras and Bombay.