Sure Falkland Islands History

For over 130 years has been providing countries throughout the world with their national and international telecoms networks.

The early years of Falkland Islands communications tell of hardship and struggle. Correspondence from West Falklands to Stanley could take up to three months as it was carried by horseback and sailing vessels.

The first telephones were installed by the Falkland Islands Company in 1880 by Mr Boyson, the manager at the time. The Falkland Islands Government were slow to see the advantages of telephones and it was not until February 1897 that a telephone was installed at Cape Pembroke Lighthouse and connected to the Police Station to improve the response time to rescue vessels damaged whilst rounding Cape Horn.

By 1907 telephone lines were being erected to all the main settlements outside of Stanley, telephones were also installed at this time into business buildings and Government Departments. The Falkland Islands Police were responsible for the installation and maintenance of the lines until 1927. In 1911, Marconi built a 5 kilowatt wireless telegraphy station, allowing telegrams to be sent to Montevideo in Uruguay.

The biggest communication change for the "Camp" (the name given to the area outside of Stanley's boundaries) occurred in 1950, when the telephone was replaced by radio telephone (although the camp telephone network remained in operation until 1982). All business, medical problems and education correspondence were communicated over radio telephone.

In October 1974, Cable & Wireless became responsible for the colony's external telecommunications. Direct calls could be booked to the UK and South American mainland. After the 1982 conflict, the MOD and Cable & Wireless erected an earth station to the east side of what is now the main offices car park. This station allowed for the first time direct dialling through Autelca card phones. In 1989, Cable & Wireless won the contract to provide domestic as well as an international telephone service for the Falkland Islands.

Communication on the Islands has changed significantly since then with the introduction of national, international and mobile telephone service and internet service. In 2006 broadband was successfully implemented in Stanley and Mount Pleasant Complex, with 2008/09 seeing the service rolled out across the Islands.

High quality satellite links provide a clear and fast connection with the rest of the World. Roaming facilities are also available on a number of mobile networks, which enable calls and text messaging between agreed networks across the world.

Cable & Wireless continued to invest in the network infrastructure on the Falkland Islands and the international links, enabling a robust and high quality communications services for both residential and business customers. During 2008/09 the company invested 1.5 million pounds in developing a new Camp network which is able to provide broadband services to anywhere on the Islands, including remote islands.

In late 2011 the mobile network was vastly extended around the Islands, increasing coverage to include large parts of Camp including Fox Bay and Port Howard on West Falklands. August 2012 saw the mobile network data enabled offering customers the ability to send and receive picture and video messages and access the internet on their mobile phones for the first time.  

In April 2013 the company was acquired by the Batelco Group, a leading telecommunications provider to 16 markets spanning the Middle East & Northern Africa, Europe and the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean.  This marks the start of an exciting new phase for our business, as we join an international organisation which is committed to delivering value and unsurpassed customer service.

To underpin these important changes to our business, with effect from 15th July 2013 we changed our name from Cable & Wireless South Atlantic Ltd to Sure South Atlantic Ltd.  Sure International is the corporate division of the business, enabling companies that operate in the islands to reliably and efficiently connect and transact with their global partners.

Serving the communities where Sure operates is at the heart of the company’s approach and Sure is committed to behaving in an ethical and socially responsible manner.