Formed from the private British Broadcasting Company and established as a public corporation under a Royal Charter from 1 January 1927, the BBC enjoyed a monopoly of legal, land-based radio in the United Kingdom until 1973 and of television until 1955. This entry first discusses the BBC’s operations, its early history, competition from other broadcasters, and expansion of its radio and television channels. It then looks at the BBC’s international ventures and contributions to broadcasting technology.

Following recommendations of government committees of inquiry into the then-new technology called wireless in the 1920s, it was decided that the United Kingdom should adopt a system of state-controlled radio broadcasting, funded by a receiving licence fee paid by households owning radios. This system was in contrast to the privately ...

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