Hall of Fame for Nortel Digital World

Nortel is to receive a special recognition award from Canada’s Telecommunications Hall of Fame in October for its role in pioneering digital communications. The award is based on Nortel’s development of the world’s first complete family of telecommunications systems based on digital technology. Nortel’s “Digital World” initiative, announced in March 1976, eventually became known as the project that launched the telecommunications industry into a new era and that laid the foundation for much of the innovation for years to come.

“Digital World helped launch the digital revolution, forever changing the nature of telecommunications and catapulting Nortel – relatively unknown outside of Canada at that time – to among the top players of the global telecommunications industry,” said John Roese, chief technology officer, Nortel.

Digital World was Nortel’s (then called Northern Telecom) daring declaration – made public by a three-page advertisement that appeared in major trade publications in 1976 – that digital technology was the key to the future. Nortel was the first to announce – and to deliver, one year ahead of schedule – a complete line of fully digital telecommunications products.

The most well-known of that Digital World product family, the DMS-100, a fully digital central office switch serving as many as 100,000 lines, was a key contributor to Nortel’s revenue for close to 15 years. By 1979, Nortel had passed the telecom giants of the world to bring on stream the world’s first family of digital switching systems.

And the rest, as they say, is history.