Digitisation, local sport, and an evolving team: 15 years of Sure in the Isle of Man

by Mike Phillips, Chief Executive of Sure Isle of Man

What do you remember about 2007? Perhaps you remember Gordon Brown becoming the UK’s last Labour Prime Minister, or NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft passing Jupiter, maybe you were off to the cinema to see Harry Potter’s fifth outing, in The Order of the Phoenix. For everyone at Sure, 2007 is a hugely significant date, as it’s when we launched in the Isle of Man.

Since then, we’ve been on a journey that has cemented Sure as a part of island life. Our purpose is to connect our island communities and we’ve been proudly doing that since 2007. Back then, we were just a mobile provider working with the latest 2G EDGE technology. Now we’re a full-service ICT provider with an unmatched digital offering. So, if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to highlight a few key Sure achievements from the last 15 years:

Tech milestones in the transition from analogue to digital

2007 onwards represents an evolving digital age. Sites like YouTube were in their infancy, while 2G data connections were the norm for online connectivity. Over the coming years, Sure pioneered several developments that brought the latest technology to the Isle of Man. In 2010 we launched broadband services, representing our first shift from a solely telecommunications model into an ICT provider, reflecting our presence in Guernsey and Jersey. During this time, we also launched a dedicated Isle of Man call centre, ensuring our customers could voice their concerns and questions to local people with local knowledge.

2014 saw the introduction of Sure’s 4G network, greatly expanding the potential for connectivity, as mobile internet speeds grew faster than ever before, and smartphones were becoming a must for anyone looking to stay up to date with the latest technology. Of course, after strengthening our ethereal mobile network, just three years later we developed a Fibre Access Network for businesses on the island, greatly improving broadband connection speeds and giving the Isle of Man’s business community the connectivity they needed to conduct international business with a fast, reliable network.

Now, Sure Business offers an unmatched range of ICT products and services. While we remain best known for our telecommunications services, we have evolved to provide only the best ICT products and solutions on the market, from secure Cloud-based storage solutions to products that counter the ever-present threat of cyber criminals and so much more. We are proud to count some of the Isle of Man’s most well-regarded enterprises among our client base and have no plans to slow down as the island continues its exciting digital transformation.

A growing team with growing ambition

It’s difficult to believe that the Sure Isle of Man team started out with a mere 15 employees. This small group developed our Isle of Man offering into something unique, providing local residents with an unrivalled digital offering. Some of our staff from this time are still a part of Sure today, such as James Hewitt, Edd Shimmin, and Steve Allan: congratulations on a fantastic milestone. I am immensely grateful for these three long servers and everyone else who have remained with the business and contributed to getting Sure Isle of Man to where we are today.

Becoming part of a remarkable community

One of the most heart-warming things about operating in the Isle of Man is the amazing sense of community – that we’re proud to be a part of. The Isle of Man TT is synonymous with the island: a hardy race for only the toughest competitors. We have been proud to support this event since our arrival in 2007, demonstrating our commitment to preserving not only local sport, but the cultural identity of the Isle of Man and its people. This is also why, as of this year, we’ve committed to become the partner of Manx Grand Prix, another essential event in the local sporting calendar.

Of course, sport is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how we’ve supported our island home. We have also made sure that the Government’s digital infrastructure is the best it can be, providing access to a high-capacity, scalable, resilient internet service to meet the needs of employees and users. We won this contract in 2021 after an extensive tender process, demonstrating Sure ‘s continued investment in local people and technology.

Looking back to look ahead

It’s remarkable to look back on what we have achieved, but I also want to make sure we keep looking forward. Our ambition is to keep innovating and serving the needs of our local customers with our local team. We will evolve and adapt our service to make sure we remain a vital part of our island’s digital life for another 15 years and beyond.

The closing words of this short retrospective will never do justice to the number of great people and organisations who have made the past 15 years as successful as they have been for Sure. I’d therefore like to thank everyone who’s played a part in helping our business grow and getting us to where we are today. So, to all my colleagues, ex-colleagues, suppliers, government and of course customers: thank you and see you in 2037!

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