It was in January of 1889 that George Gillmore was granted a
licence by the British Post Office to operate a public telephone
system in the Isle of Man. At that time, in his own words, “The
Manx people knew nothing about telephones or telephone exchanges…I
had to set up a number of free lines to educate the people into the
The rest, as they say, is history. Here are some of the landmark
events along the way.
1889 – George Gillmore opens a telephone exchange in Athol
Street. Of the 14 or so subscribers, Quiggins Sawmill, the Isle of
Man Railway and the Steam Packet are the first to sign up.
1891 – the National Telephone Company buys George Gillmore out
and makes him manager of the new company. It’s only later that
George realises he could have named his price. His licence was
actually for the whole of the British Isles, and while the company
paid £20,100 for the tiny Thanet Telephone Company in Essex, George
got just £1,935, 17 shillings and three pence.
1899 – Subscriber numbers have risen to 526, with seven public
call offices in the Island.
1912 – the General Post Office takes over the system.
1929 – the Anglo-Irish cable is opened, running from Norbreck
near Blackpool to Port Grenaugh to Ireland. A momentous
development, this enables the first telephone communication with
1940 – having retired shortly after the Post Office took the
system over, George Gillmore dies, aged 88.
1967 – the first Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) call is made
from the Island to the UK.
1980 – British Telecom is formed from the break-up of the
General Post Office.
1986 – British Telecom forms Manx Telecom, which the following
year is granted a 20-year licence to operate the Island’s
1988 – Peel becomes the first digital working exchange in the
Island, with all the other exchanges following suit over the next
2001 – The Isle of Man is one of the first countries in the
world to enjoy broadband ADSL services, courtesy of Manx
2005 – Manx Telecom becomes the world’s first operator to launch
the super-fast HSDPA (3.5G) service.
2005 - Douglas North Data Centre built with 6,300sq foot
2006 - Upgrade of Manx Telecom's ADSL broadband
service to provide up to 2Mbps (Megabits per second) as the
standard service offering.
January 2009 - Further major upgrade to the Island’s
telecommunications network to provide broadband download speeds of
up to 8Mb/s.
August 2009 - Broadband service upgraded to ADLS2+ giving
download speeds of up to 16Mb/s.
June 2010 - Manx Telecom was sold by parent company Telefonica
S.A Group and purchased by CPS Partners (a specialist
telecommunications management company, with a strong focus on
Island and small country telecoms) and private
equity investor HgCapital.