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AT&T Archives: A Million Times a Day





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Published on Mar 28, 2012

To see more from the AT&T Archives, visit

In 1947, the Bell System had a public relations dilemma on their hands: more demand for their services than they were able to fill. This was due to wartime shortages — both materials and labor from the Bell System were diverted to the war effort for years, and the effects from this were still felt two years after the war ended. At this time, they were also starting to build out a wireless network of microwave relays to provide television service nationally, on top of the telephone services.

This film is about what the demands on the system were, quantified. It covers the company's scope of service and infrastructure — the subtext is the return to normalcy.

In the past 60 years, the number of daily calls handled by AT&T has increased slightly: from one million in 1947 to 350 million in 2010. And that doesn't include the nearly 24 petabytes of data that traverse the AT&T network every day.

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


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