Definitions

kept pace

Communications in Gibraltar

Communications in Gibraltar.

Telecommunications

History

The first telephones were introduced in 1886 by a private company which was later taken over by the Government of Gibraltar and until 1990, all telephone services were operated by the Telephone Department. International circuits were provided by Cable & Wireless originally founded as the Falmouth, Gibraltar and Malta Cable Company, in 1869. This later operated as the Eastern Telegraph Company from Mount Pleasant, Gibraltar. In 1990, the Government entered into two joint ventures with Nynex of the United States, and BT in the United Kingdom. Gibraltar Nynex Communications (GNC) became responsible for fixed line telephony, and international calls to Spain, while Gibtel (partly owned by BT) became responsible for all other international calls and mobile telephone services. In 2002, BT sold its 50% stake in Gibtel, which merged with GNC to form Gibtelecom, a joint venture between the Government of Gibraltar and Nynex's successor company, Verizon. In April 2007, Verizon sold its shares to Slovenia telecom.

Infrastructure

Telephones - Numbers in use: 25,000 (2006)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 15,000 (2006)

The telecommunications infrastructure in Gibraltar is modelled on that of the UK; for example; the ringing tone of fixed telephone lines is identical to that of the UK, although that of mobile phones may resemble that of mainland Europe, with long tones. Telephone jacks are also British Standard BS 6312, as opposed to the RJ11 versions found in other parts of Europe and the world.

In the past, it was a popular cliché with travel writers that Gibraltar still had traditional red British-style telephone boxes when there were just a few original ones in service. However, new ones have recently been imported which along with policemen with helmets, seem popular with tourists.

Telecom dispute

Calling code: +350

Telecommunication services in Gibraltar were subject to Spanish restrictions until February 10 2007. Subsequent to the resolution of the dispute, the Gibraltar telephone numbering plan has been increased to eight digits for land lines, adding a prefix of 200 to the existing Gibtelecom five digit numbers which is required to be dialled from October 2008.

Gibtelecom was also prevented from having roaming agreements with Spanish GSM (Global System for Mobile communications)networks so its mobile phones did not operate in Spain. Gibtelecom had roaming arrangements with local GSM networks in most other countries. After the Córdoba Agreement, Gibtel (Gibtelecom's mobile service) could roam on Spanish network Movistar (Telefonica). As of recent customers can now roam on Vodafone and Yoigo. Orange still (September 2008) identifies as AMENA and does not allow Gibraltar phones to register.

Fixed Line Services

In the 1980s there was a shortage of local line capacity on the existing crossbar exchange, which itself had replaced the relay and Strowger exchanges and a modern digital System/X switch was installed.

Cable and Wireless, who provided international circuits installed a satellite earth station which made International Subscriber Dialling possible.

When the frontier with Spain was re-opened, telephone and telex circuits cut by General Franco were re-established.

Subsequently fibre links into the FLAG cable were established and along with microwave links to Morocco giving Gibraltar a resilient communications infrastructure.

Provision for Local Loop Unbundling was introduced in Gibraltar, under the 2006 Communications Act, similar to the UK's 2003 Communications Act. Earlier in December 2005, the European Commission initiated the second stage of infringement proceedings against the British Government relating to Gibraltar’s failure to transpose five European Union directives on electronic communications, but these were closed after the relevant legislation was passed into law by the House of Assembly in June 2006.

Gibtelecom numbers are now eight digits beginning with 200 and a second operator CTS Gibraltar Limited has announced it will be providing fixed line services begining with the prefix 216.

Mobile Network

GSM Network Identifier : GIBTEL

Gibraltar Telecommunications International Limited (Gibtel) introduced mobile phones to Gibraltar with a GSM900 network.

Mobile phone technology is constantly advancing and the current operator Gibtelecom has kept pace with developments including the advent of data access via mobile phones. The company’s GBP £1.5 million deal with Ericsson was heralded as “opening up a new era for mobile telephony in Gibraltar”.

The new General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) network installed by the Scandinavian company allows faster and permanent connectivity for all mobile users, as well as providing high-speed picture and video messaging for owners of the new range of multi-purpose hand-sets.

Broadcasting

Television

Television broadcast stations: 1 (plus three low-power repeaters) (2002)

Television Licences: 7,452 (2002) Requirement abolished (2007).

GBC Television is operated by the Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) is transmitted on VHF Channel 12 with UHF repeaters on 56 and 53.

Until 1999, GBC retransmitted BBC Prime, but was relaunched as a community-based service focusing on local news and other items of local interest. GBC programming starts at around 19:30 and finishes before midnight with the most popular programme being the local news bulletin, News Watch at 20:30. During the day fillers and the sound of GBC radio are transmitted. The stqtion was funded by a mix of advertising, government funding, and an annual television licence fee. In June 2006, the licence was abolished by the Government.

The majority of homes also have access to satellite television with mostly United Kingdom channels. Gibraltar also receives Spanish national television and radio stations, as well as Spanish regional (from Andalusia) and local stations (from the Campo de Gibraltar area).

Radio

Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 3, shortwave 0, Internet 1 (2005)

Radios: 37,000 (1997) - Radio licences now discontinued

The Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) operates Radio Gibraltar on both FM and AM, broadcasting a mix of local programming in English and Spanish, and retransmissions of the BBC World Service. In December 2005, GBC started internet streaming of its radio service which, along with an up-to-date programme guide for GBC television and radio, can be found on the website

The British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) operates two radio stations on FM, BFBS1 and BFBS2 and a private cable television network. BFBS1 and 2 are also available on the Internet streamed from the UK.

Amateur Radio

Callsigns: ZB0x (VHF only), ZB2xx (Full), ZB3x (novice) + special event stations

Amateur Radio started in Gibraltar shortly after the Second World War. The Gibraltar Amateur Radio Society (GARS) is a small but active society representing the interests of Amateur Radio both locally and internationally as a full International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) member society.

Each year for Gibraltar National Week amateur radio operators can use the ZG prefix instead of ZB. Special event stations are licensed by the GRA for example the Lighthouse Activity Weekend uses ZB2LGT.

Internet

Country code (Top-level domain): .gi

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 3

Gibnet Limited, a private company, began internet services in January 1996, with a 64kbs circuit to Spain. In 2005 it merged with Broadband Gibraltar Limited to form Sapphire Networks Limited. Sapphire have their own redundant fibre and microwave infrastructure into and around Gibraltar.

Sapphire uses the Gibtelecom ADSL concentrator to reach customers that are outside their own network, and sells high Internet bandwidth services and internet connectivity competing directly with Gibtelecom.

GNC Networks, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gibraltar Nynex Communications, commenced services in 1997. GNC Networks was renamed Gibconnect and the parent company became Gibraltar Telecommunications International Limited, which is referred to as Gibtelecom, in 2002. ADSL services were introduced in 2002, by 2005, there were several thousand users. The company is co-owned by the Government of Gibraltar and Slovenia Telecom.

In 2000, the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority issued Ladbrokes, who then operated Gibraltar's biggest call centre, with a licence to establish their own internet services. Under this Advanced Business Communications (Europe) began operating on the rock. The company applied for a license in their own right. The GRA eventually denied ABC (Europe) a license. Ladbrokes scaled down their Gibraltar operations and their 'Internet permit' was not renewed. ABC ceased their Gibraltar operations in early 2002.

Yachtconnect, A Wi-Fi operator provides a prepaid or subscription wireless internet service around the marinas.

CTS Gibraltar Limited launched a WiMax service in 2008, competing against the established ADSL providers.

Printed media

Newspapers

The largest and most frequently published newspaper is the Gibraltar Chronicle, Gibraltar’s oldest established daily newspaper and the world’s second oldest English language newspaper to have been in print continuously with daily editions six days a week. Panorama is published on weekdays, and Vox, 7 Days, The New People, and Gibsport are weekly. Other newspapers such as the weekly El Faro de Gibraltar, are published in Spanish.

Magazines

Gibraltar has two prominent monthly magazines; Insight and the Gibraltar Magazine.

References

External links

See also

Gibraltar telecom dispute

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