Communications in Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

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Below is a summary of media communications in Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.

Saint Helena[edit]

Radio[edit]

Radio St Helena, which started operations on Christmas Day 1967, provided a local radio service that had a range of about 100 km from the island, and also broadcast internationally on Shortwave Radio (11092.5 kHz) on one day a year. The station presented news, features and music in collaboration with its sister newspaper, the St Helena Herald. It closed on 25 December 2012 to make way for a new three-channel FM service, also funded by St. Helena Government and run by the South Atlantic Media Services (formerly St. Helena Broadcasting (Guarantee) Corporation).[1]

Saint FM[2] provided a local radio service for the island which was also available on internet radio[3] and relayed in Ascension Island. The station was not government funded. It was launched in January 2005 and closed on 21 December 2012. It broadcast news, features and music in collaboration with its sister newspaper, the St Helena Independent (which continues).

Saint FM Community Radio took over the radio channels vacated by Saint FM and launched on 10 March 2013. The station is legally a company registered by guarantee and is owned by its members. Anyone who wishes to can become a member.

As of 1997, there were 3,000 radios in the area.

Television[edit]

Sure South Atlantic Ltd offers television for the island via 15 digital encrypted DVB-T2 channels, which rebroadcast a compilation of English programmes provided by South African MultiChoice, at a monthly subscription rate of £33.[4] In late 2011 a digital broadcasting network using the DVB-T2 standard was installed on the island,[5] which has since replaced the old analogue broadcasting of 3 encrypted TV channels.[6][7] All 15 digital TV channels are encrypted and subscription costs amount to £33 per month (excl. SHG Service Tax),[8] more than one tenth of an average worker's salary.[9] The feed signal is received by a satellite dish at Bryant's Beacon from Intelsat 7 in the Ku band.[10] Two separate local TV channels will be allocated to carry local content.[7] As of 1997, there were 2,000 television sets in the territory.

Telecommunications[edit]

Sure South Atlantic Ltd (formerly Cable & Wireless South Atlantic Ltd) provide the telecommunications service in the territory through a digital copper-based telephone network including ADSL-broadband service. In August 2011 the first fiber-optic link has been installed on the island, which connects the television receive antennas at Bryant's Beacon to the Cable & Wireless Technical Centre in the Briars. Plans are now being made for further fibre optic cable installations.[11]

A satellite ground station with a 7.6 metre satellite dish installed in 1989[12] at The Briars is the only international connection providing satellite links through Intelsat 707 to Ascension island and the United Kingdom.[13] Since all international telephone and internet communications are relying on this single satellite link both Internet and telephone service are subject to sun outages.

Telephone service[edit]

As of 2009 there were 2,900 main telephone lines in use on St Helena. Since 2006 it shares its international calling code +290 with Tristan da Cunha. Since October 2013 telephone numbers are 5 digits long. Numbers start with 1-9, with 8xxxx being reserved for Tristan da Cunha numbers and 22xxx for Jamestown.[14]

Cellular service[edit]

In April 2014 installation of an islandwide cellular network has started on St Helena which is due for launch before end of the year.[15] Following an agreement signed between the St Helena Government and Cable & Wireless South Atlantic (now Sure South Atlantic Ltd) in July 2012 a GSM cellphone network will be rolled out on St Helena by 2014. The network will cover 95% of the population. Services will include voice calls, text messaging, mobile data and inbound and outbound roaming.[16]

Internet[edit]

Until 2012 St Helena's internet link via Intelsat 707 delivered by Cable & Wireless International UK provided a total bandwidth of 10/3.6 Mbit/s.[13] In July 2012 Cable & Wireless South Atlantic announced bandwidth to be doubled to 20 Mbit/s,[16] followed by a further doubling in December 2013 which results in a bandwidth for the entire population of approximately 40 Mbit/s download and 14.4 Mbit/s upload respectively.[17]

ADSL-broadband service is provided with maximum speeds of up to 1536 kbit/s downstream and 512 kbit/s upstream offered on contract levels from lite £16 per month to gold at £190 per month.[18] There are few public Wi-Fi hotspots in Jamestown, which are also operated by Sure South Atlantic Ltd.[19]

As of 2009, the territory had 900 internet users; there were 6,873 internet hosts as of 2010, and one ISP.

Submarine cable link[edit]

Since 2012 a campaign called Move This Cable - Connect St Helena! has been lobbying for a branch of the planned South Atlantic Express submarine communications cable to land on St Helena in order to provide high-speed Internet access and so to foster the island's socio-economic development.[20][21][22]

Ascension[edit]

Telecommunications[edit]

Since 2012 Ascension has a cellular network based on the GSM standard which covers Georgetown, Wideawake Airfield, Travellers Hill and Two Boats Village. However services are not marketed locally but instead only offered to visitors using their home operators' international roaming service.[23][24]

Meteorological stations[edit]

South Africa maintains a manned meteorological station on Gough Island; on Saint Helena island, there is an automatic weather station at Longwood and another station at Broad Bottom. Ascension Island has 4 meteorological stations: in the Wiki Airhead,Georgetown, Travellers and Residency.[25]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Simon Pipe (2012-06-14). "Media saga takes new twist as Mike plans more radio stations". St. Helena Online. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  2. ^ "Saint FM Homepage". Saint FM. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "Saint FM Live Stream". Saint FM. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Sure South Atlantic Ltd., Digital Television Service - General Terms and Conditions, No. 7
  5. ^ "Digital Terrestrial Television Project progresses for C&W SA Ltd", The St Helena Independent Volume VI, Issue 49, Friday 21 October 2011, p. 3
  6. ^ Hensil O'Bey (23 March 2012). "Digital Terrestrial Television Project update". press release. Cable & Wireless South Atlantic Ltd. Retrieved 5 August 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Sharon Henry (29 March 2012). "15 Channel Digital TV for St Helena". news article. The St Helena Broadcasting (Guarantee) Corporation Ltd. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  8. ^ Hensil O'Bey (24 April 2012). "Digital Terrestrial Television Project Update". press release. Cable & Wireless South Atlantic Ltd. Retrieved 5 August 2012. 
  9. ^ Simon Hancock (19 January 2010). "Life on one of the world's most remote islan". news article. BBS News. Retrieved 5 August 2012. 
  10. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20100630165546/http://www.cwi.sh/downloads/PubInfoTV.pdf
  11. ^ "Cable & Wireless SA Ltd First Fibre Network for St Helena" St Helena Herald, Volume XI no. 15, 5 August 2011, p. 27
  12. ^ "Cable & Wireless Carries out Major Mechanical Maintenance" The St Helena Independent Volume 1, Issue 37 Friday 21 July 2006, p. 8
  13. ^ a b http://liveweb.archive.org/http://www.cwi.sh/our_network.html/
  14. ^ World Telephone Numbering Guide Saint Helena and Tristan da Cunha
  15. ^ Sharon Henry (24 April 2014). "They're finally here - Cellphones for Christmas". The Sentinel 3 (5) (Jamestown: South Atlantic Media Services, Ltd.). p. 1. 
  16. ^ a b St Helena Government (23 July 2012). "SHG and Cable & Wireless South Atlantic sign new deal". press release. St Helena Government. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  17. ^ Sure South Atlantic Ltd (9 January 2014). "Sure South Atlantic Ltd – Increased Internet bandwidth in St Helena". The Sentinel 2 (40) (Jamestown: South Atlantic Media Services, Ltd.). p. 16. 
  18. ^ http://www.sure.co.sh/downloads/BBPackages.pdf
  19. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20100630165620/http://www.cwi.sh/wifi.html
  20. ^ website of Connect St. Helena! campaign
  21. ^ Lee, Dave (3 January 2013). "Island community St Helena renews plea for internet cash from UK". bbc.com. BBC. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  22. ^ Geere, Duncan (22 February 12). "Wiring up St Helena: the campaign to connect a remote Atlantic island". WIRED.co.uk. Condé Nast UK. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  23. ^ http://www.atlantis.co.ac/pdf/mobile_map.pdf
  24. ^ Cohen, Brian (15 January 2013). "FlyerTalk Members Report on Experience of Emergency Airplane Diversion to Ascension Island". Flyertalk.com. Flyertalk.com. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  25. ^ http://www.the-islander.org.ac/artd_11049_08_2013_8.html

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the CIA World Factbook.