Communications in Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
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).
Saint FM provided a local radio service for the island which was also available on internet radio 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.
Sure South Atlantic Ltd offers television for the island via 15 digital encrypted DVB-T2 channels, which rebroadcast a compilation of British programmes provided by South African MultiChoice, at a monthly subscription rate of £33. In late 2011 a digital broadcasting network using the DVB-T2 standard was installed on the island, which has since replaced the old analogue broadcasting of 3 encrypted TV channels. All 15 digital TV channels are encrypted and subscription costs amount to £33 per month (excl. SHG Service Tax), more than one tenth of an average worker's salary. The feed signal is received by a satellite dish at Bryant's Beacon from Intelsat 7 in the Ku band. Two separate local TV channels will be allocated to carry local content. As of 1997, there were 2,000 television sets in the territory.
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.
A satellite ground station with a 7.6 metre satellite dish installed in 1989 at The Briars is the only international connection providing satellite links through Intelsat 707 to Ascension island and the United Kingdom. Since all international telephone and internet communications are relying on this single satellite link both Internet and telephone service are subject to sun outages.
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.
Following an agreement signed between the St Helena Government and Cable & Wireless South Atlantic (now Sure South Atlantic Ltd) in July 2012 a GSM mobile phone network was set to be rolled out on St Helena by 2014. In April 2014 installation of an islandwide cellular network had started which was due for launch before end of the year. However, after the contracted network equipment supplier, Altobridge, went into receivership on 30 May 2014, Sure South Atlantic Ltd had to restart the procurement process, postponing the launch date to June 2015. Instead of deploying the aging GSM standard, as originally planned, the company than considered immediately rolling out a cellular network based on the more advanced LTE standard.
In September 2015, Sure South Atlantic Ltd finally launched St Helena's first cellular network using the MCC/MNC tuple 658-01. It is based on network equipment from Canadian Star Solutions International Inc. providing GSM-900 and LTE band 3 (1800 MHz) and Primal Technologies providing Advance Pay/Prepaid, SMSC, Voicemail, USSD, IVR, CTS service. The network will cover 95% of the population and services will include voice calls, text messaging, mobile data as well as inbound and outbound roaming.
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. In July 2012 Cable & Wireless South Atlantic announced bandwidth to be doubled to 20 Mbit/s, 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.
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. There are few public Wi-Fi hotspots in Jamestown, which are also operated by Sure South Atlantic Ltd.
As of 2009, the territory had 900 internet users; there were 6,873 internet hosts as of 2010, and one ISP.
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.
On 27 October 2017 the St Helena Government announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with South Atlantic Express (SAEx) to provide a branching spur to St Helena from the South Atlantic Express submarine cable between South Africa and South America, with the aim of the cable being ready for service in 2020.
Satellite earth station
In February 2018 St Helena Government launched the project to attract operators of satellite ground stations to the island who would lease capacity on the planned submarine cable for backhauling and so contribute to the operational costs of the latter. Satellite ground stations on St Helena could support communications with satellites in low earth orbit, including those in polar, equatorial and inclined orbit and with high-throughput satellites in medium earth as well as Geostationary orbit.
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.
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 four meteorological stations: in the Airhead, Georgetown, Travellers and Residency.
- Transport on Saint Helena
- Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha#Communications
- Category:Radio stations in Saint Helena
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- World Telephone Numbering Guide Saint Helena and Tristan da Cunha
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- "SHG SIGNS MOU WITH SAEX TO DELIVER SUBMARINE CABLE PROJECT". St Helena. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
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- Roaming Mobile Service
- 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.
- Hash Trash - Hash No: 1363 - Ascension Island News
This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html.