Gibraltar: Business Environment
Internet and E-Commerce Facilities
After the long awaited Gibraltar Telecommunications Ordinance 2001 finally came into effect on the 19th July 2001, and a regulatory authority was set up, full liberalisation of the telecommunications industry in Gibraltar led to a reorganisation of the sector.
Until 2002, the two main Gibraltar telecommunications companies, Gibraltar Telecommunications Limited (GibTel) and Gibraltar Nynex Communications Limited (Nynex), had been offering a range of Internet services for some time, operating a digital telephone system which was becoming increasingly fibre optic, and providing ISDN and leased lines from at least 64kb with sufficiently large bandwidth for international users. The local telephony service was operated by Nynex under a government licence (the government owned half the company) and the international link, via the UK by satellite, was run by GibTel which was a joint venture between the Gibraltar government and British Telecom plc. In mid-2000, Nynex sold its 50 per cent share to BT so in practice both telecommunications companies were 50/50 joint ventures between BT and the Gibraltar government. BT's stake was then acquired by Verizon Communications.
GNC and Gibraltar Telecommunications International Limited (Gibtel) were brought into common ownership in 2001, and rebranded as Gibtelecom in 2002. Gibraltar NYNEX Communications Limited (GNC) changed its name to Gibtelecom Limited as from 1 October 2003. Gibtelecom is now a joint venture company owned jointly by Verizon Communications of the USA and the Government of Gibraltar. The Gibtelecom Group comprises Gibraltar Nynex Communications (GNC), Gibraltar Telecommunications International (Gibtel) and GNC's wholly owned Internet services subsidiary company, Gibconnect.
In April 2007, it was announced that Telekom Slovenije had completed its purchase of Verizon Communication's 50% shareholding in Gibtelecom, the main provider of telecommunications services in Gibraltar.
The Telekom Slovenije group is the main telecommunications provider in Slovenia, serving a population of 2 million people with fixed line and internet services, together with mobile services through its subsidiary, Mobitel.
There are a number of other ISPs of which Gibnet Limited is one of the most prominent. Many smaller companies offer various types of support service for site development.
Gibraltar's main achievements in e-commerce so far have been in the betting and financial derivatives sectors, where a number of British companies have re-located to take advantage of high-quality telecommunications and Internet support from the local operators.
The effects of liberalisation have been felt in recent years as new players come into the market, quality improves and the prices of many services fall in real terms. The Government says it views these developments as fundamental for the growth and development of an Information Society.
While Internet services can be supplied from and to virtually anywhere in the world an Internet business based in Gibraltar will be able to use efficient local specialist web site designers and administrators providing a range of services.