JimenaPulse

About Jimena de la Frontera, the province of Cadiz and Spain as a whole, focused on this small village in the mountains

State-of-the-art technology for Gibraltar telecommunications

Aerial (Agencies) Telecommunications in, from and to Gibraltar are to be improved substantially with a connection to a fibre optic cable network that runs from India to the UK, according to sources at 6 Convent Place.>PLEASE BE AWARE THAT ITEMS SUCH AS THIS MAY BE SUBJECT TO SUBSCRIPTION IN THE FUTURE but you can make a donation NOW, too! Please click here for more information on how to help us continue. (This item was translated) GibTelecom is part of a consortium that seeks to offer wider broadband capacity and the latest in IT technology through the Europe India Gateway (EIG), which is well advanced in development by several telecommunications operators. GibTelecom’s investment is around the €21 million mark, and the system is expected to be in operation by mid-2010.

The announcement comes amid tension with Spain regarding the waters surrounding the Rock. The European Union recently declared some of the waters as of Community Interest and belonging to Spain. This declaration goes against a previous one that said that a section of the waters -now surrounded by ‘Spanish waters’- was in Gibraltar’s jurisdiction. The matter is being raised at the European Courts of Justice. (See related item here.)

However, Senator José Carracao, government spokesperson on Gibraltar matters, declined to relate the cable system with the jurisdictional waters issue, adding that, as he sees it, the cable is a ‘technical matter’ so he doesn’t foresee any opposition on the part of the Spanish Government.

The EIG system will allow Gibraltar to further develop and ensure much better connections to its financial and e-business services, among which stand out online casinos. The cable will offer state-of-the-art technology and is designed to carry 3.84 terabytes per second (Tbps) using a DWDM system that permits support for Internet, e-commerce, video, data and voice up-dateable transmission.

The submarine fibre-optic cable is some 15,000 kilometres long and will allow connections between thirteen territories on three continents: UK, Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco, Monaco, France, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Oman, UAE and India. It will also be connected to other network systems in Europe, Africa, Asia and North America.

At the same time, EIG will also allow Gibraltar to become considerably less dependent in terms of telecommunications, as it is now dependant on land-based system, crossing the frontier through Spanish operators such as Telefónica and Ono. While it is true that satellite-based systems are present on the Rock, communications are largely through land-based technology. The submarine cable, on the other hand, offers larger capacity.

Sources on the Rock say this is a major step towards independence regarding telecommunications and comes after the Tripartite Forum allowed Gibraltar to have 10 million landline phone numbers -it used to have only 30,000, controlled by the Spanish government- and another 5 million for mobile phones, through the international dial code +350 for Gibraltar.

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  Monty wrote @

“a major step towards independence regarding telecommunications and comes after the Tripartite Forum allowed Gibraltar to have 10 million landline phone numbers -it used to have only 30,000, controlled by the Spanish government- and another 5 million for mobile phones, through the international dial code 0035 for Gibraltar.”

This statement is wrong in a number of important aspects.

Firstly, Gibraltar telecommunications have historically been fully independent from Spain – first by undersea cable, then by Satellite along with microwave links to Morocco and Portugal. It is only in recent recent years that the land links with Spain have been used for international traffic. [I’m not talking about since they were restored after being cut by Franco, but since the beginning – you need to remember how comparatively underdeveloped neighboring Spain was until comparatively recently. So, firstly I think it would be better phrases as ‘a major step going BACK towards independence’.

Secondly, a far more importantly, the tripartite forum has NOT allowed Gibraltar to have 10 million numbers. Nothing of the sort. Gibraltar is free to create as many telephone numbers as it wants – and always has been.

The previous problem was the Spain did not recognize Gibraltar international direct dial country code (every other country recognized it!).

Instead Spain had a complicated number shadowing setup whereby they used a block of numbers in their 956 area code to ‘shadow’ the Gibraltar numbers. e.g. Gibraltar number 72345 would be dialed from spain as 956 771234. However the rest of the world this was +350 71234.

Now because Spain only set aside a limited block of numbers in 956 to shadow gibraltar numbers, this in turn limited Gibraltar numbers – if they were to be dial-able from Spain.

Now that sounds like a limited problem at first, however you need to understand how telecommunications was developing. Increasingly telephone companies elsewhere would look for the lowest cost route to a destination, therefore as Spain was a much bigger country than Gibraltar other 3rd country networks would have bigger bulk deals with Spain and so the cheapest route might be to give the call to a Spanish network rather than take it direct to Gibraltar. This would mean that the spanish network would get numbers +350 71234 etc, which the Spanish foreign ministry instructed the spanish telcos to deliberately block.
So in practice, with least cost routing the numbers would not work safely in practice if a least cost route became involved.

At the tripartite forum Spain agreed to recognize Gibraltar’s international country code, that is all. This in turns means the shadowing problems are solved, so spanish interference in Gibraltar’s national numbering plan has been removed.

It is interesting to note that, as far as Gibraltar is concerned, the benefit of this agreement at the tripartite forum was merely expediency. Gibraltar was very confident that it’s EU court cases regarding telecommunications interference and failure to recognize our country code would actually be found in our favor (it is an ITU assigned country code, making Spain’s case untenable).
However it was equally widely recognized that this may take a long time to happen if Spain dragged its feet and delayed the EU processes. [On the question of mobiles, Spain had openly admitted it prevented Spanish networks signing agreements with Gibtelecom for political pressure reasons, so again this was a case Spain was destined to loose in court – eventually]

Third and finally, +350 is the international country code for Gibraltar not +35. There is NO ‘+35’ two number code because there are ‘+35x’ three number codes.
Off the top of my head:
+350 Gibraltar
+351 Portugal
+353 Ireland
+358 Finland
I’m sure the others are elsewhere.

Additionally, and this is a comment to all: You should always give numbers as +350…., or +353…,+34…..,+44 … etc. Rather than 00350, 00353, 0034, 0044, etc
The reason being that while the country bit (350, 353, 44, 34) is always same no matter where you call from, the ‘international access code’ (the bit you dial before the country code) does vary from place to place. While it is increasingly ’00’, it remains 011 in the US – e.g. 011350, 01134, 011353, 01144 etc.
It used to be 010 in the UK (now 00), but it certainly does still vary around the world.

  prospero wrote @

Many thanks, Monty, for setting us straight. As you know, most of our items come from news agencies or the press, principally Spanish. As with everything, there are always at least two sides to every story – maybe specially so on the very complex Gibraltar issue. We will correct some of the facts thanks to you.

  Data and Telecommunication wrote @

Most expensive and fastest way of communication connection is fiber optic. A fiber optic that crosses along the country is a great achievement for telecommunication history.


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