The file contains records on the construction of a very-high-frequency (VHF) station at Mount Faber for radio-communications with approvals from relevant authorities, supply of electrical utility by the City Electricity Department, and provision of telecommunication lines by the Oriental Telephone & Electric Company. The VHF station was constructed under an alternative plan since the original planned site at Paya Lebar with a 200-feet tower was not suitable due to a height constraint arising from the plan to develop a new airport at Paya Lebar.
The file contains correspondence between the Director of Telecoms and the Director-General of Telecoms, Kuala Lumpur with regard to provision of international telex traffic statistics as requested by International Telecommunication Union .
The file contains records relating to monthly outgoing telex traffic statistics between West Malaysia and Singapore from February 1970 to May 1972. The exchange of information was for the purposes of monitoring international telex traffic and submission of statistics to International Telecommunication Union.
The file contains records relating to monthly outgoing telex traffic statistics between Malaysia and Singapore from June 1972 to June 1974 that were exchanged between the Telecommunication Authority of Singapore (TAS) and Telecoms Department, Malaysia. The exchange of information was for the purposes of monitoring international telex traffic and submission of statistics to International Telecommunication Union.
Due to a shortage of telex machines, Telecoms Department implemented a scheme in 1970 to allow commercial firms to purchase teleprinter machines from equipment manufacturers directly and subscribe for telex service, subject to additional terms and conditions. Under this scheme, Telecoms Department would acquire subscribers' equipment and spare parts by waiving rental such that the aggregate sum of rental waived became equal to the value of the equipment and spare parts . The scheme was a temporary arrangement to reduce the problem of shortage of telex machines.
The Telecoms Department discussed and liaised with overseas telecoms administrations on the establishment of additional international telex circuits, telegraph circuits and leased circuits to overseas destinations including London, Sydney, Djakarta, Tokyo and Bombay. This was via the Kuantan satellite earth station as interim routing arrangements prior to the expected completion of Singapore Sentosa earth station in August 1971. Some of these circuits were routed through Kuala Lumpur-Singapore microwave links.
The Telecoms Department obtained an approval from the Development Planning Sub-Committee in October 1963 to release funds for the purchase of one very high frequency (VHF) radio set for the Water Department and tables for the Airport Communication Centre. Director (Telecoms) sought approval from Director-General (Telecoms), Kuala Lumpur to replace 12 VHF equipment with the latest transistorised version as the equipment were old and uneconomical to maintain as components were difficult to obtain . The new frequency modulation (FM) transistorised equipment for Public Utilities Board (PUB) Waterworks radio network was delivered to Mercury House in October 1964.
In November 1966, Chief Water Engineer informed Director (Telecoms) that Water Department of Public Utilities Board (PUB) was making an application for installation, commissioning and maintenance of a very high frequency (VHF) radio system at Johore River Waterworks, Kota Tinggi to provide communication with other waterworks already installed with such a system . Telecoms Department completed the VHF project in October 1967 . In October 1969, Director (Telecoms) informed the Chief Water Engineer of PUB that action was being taken to acquire the necessary new equipment for the conversion of the existing sets in Kota Tinggi, Tebrau, Pontian, Pulai and Scudai Waterworks from amplitude modulation (AM) to frequency modulation (FM) operation .
The Commanding Officer of the Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) at the Central Fire Station confirmed the requirements from AFS including four very high frequency (VHF) sets and seven additional chassis, leads and aerials for seven vehicles so that the sets could be easily interchanged. The sets would use the same radio frequencies as the Singapore Fire Brigade network . Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Co. Ltd (Marconi) sent a letter in February 1953 to Telecoms Department providing quotes for VHF equipment and accessories required by AFS . After approval was obtained from Financial Secretary in February 1954 to expend up to $10,000 in the purchase and installation of VHF equipment for AFS , Telecoms Department placed an indent for the VHF equipment for AFS with Marconi in February 1954 and completed the installation of VHF equipment including one main VHF station at Mount Faber in March 1954 . In May 1962, the Acting Chief Fire Officer (CFO) of the Singapore Fire Brigade (SFB) requested Director (Telecoms) for a revised bill in the name of Acting CFO of SFB in place of the AFS which had been disbanded since January 1962. Acting CFO also requested for new Agreements covering the VHF sets which were formerly hired by the AFS.
Director (Telecoms) wrote to two equipment suppliers requesting for information regarding suitable multi-channel very high frequency (VHF) apparatus that would enable incoming vessels to call their shipping agent offices when they were 20 to 30 miles outside Singapore . Director (Telecoms) further wrote to seven equipment suppliers requesting them to provide budgetary prices for a multi-channel VHF radio telephone system for communicating to ships in the harbour and adjacent waters . Director (Telecoms) informed Financial Secretary that 4 quotations were received for the Public VHF Radio Telephone Service to Ships and the cheapest and most satisfactory equipment offered by Radio Corporation of America (RCA) was recommended for purchase. The Financial Secretary's approval was obtained to purchase the RCA equipment in August 1957. Subsequently, Telecoms Department placed an order for Ship-to-Shore Public Telephone VHF systems (consisting of main and standby equipment) with RCA through its local agent in September 1957 . RCA delivered the ordered equipment in April 1958.
In August 1968, Director (Telecoms) submitted two copies of the draft 1967 Annual Report of the Telecoms Department to Permanent Secretary (Communications) for approval . The Department entered the year under review still administered as two organisations, namely the Department proper and the former Cable and Wireless Ltd Branch (acquired on 3 January 1966) which was designated as Telecoms Department (External) . The functional re-organisation of the Department achieved the essential centralised control of the Department’s operations including the absorption of the ex-Cable and Wireless Ltd staff into the public service . A press cutting on “Steps to Centralise Control of Telecoms” that was published by the Malay Mail on 12 May 1969 reported that the successful re-organisation of the Telecoms Department was the most critical step in its evolution .
The file also contains information relating to:
a meeting which was held in November 1971 to discuss and explore the possibility of introducing data transmission over the International Switched Telephone Network known as switched Datel 600 service between Singapore and overseas countries using existing telephone switchboards .
An article on "Singapore's Telecommunication System and its international importance" was prepared by the Telecommunications Department and forwarded to the Director/ Editor of a journal "New Commonwealth and World Development" in May 1971 for featuring in July issue of the journal . The article stated that an efficient international telecommunication service was vital to Singapore on entrepot trade and on export-orientated industries. The article covered the South East Asia Commonwealth (SEACOM) Submarine Cable System and the plan to establish a satellite earth station in Pulau Blakang Mati (now known as Sentosa Island) by August 1971 in order to keep up with the demand and latest developments in telecommunications.
A press release announcing the formation of the Telecommunication Authority of Singapore (TAS) on 1 April 1972 was released . With the conversion of the Telecommunications Department into an autonomous statutory organisation, TAS would be more geared and responsive to the rapid rates of growth and fast changing communications technology and challenges in the years ahead.
This file contains information relating to the 1970 Annual Report of the Telecommunications Department. 1970 was a year of new management as Mr Ngiam Tong Dow became Acting Permanent Secretary (PS) (Communications) and Mr Goh Seng Kim became Acting Director (Telecoms). Following the International Telecommunication Union’s Senior Regional Representative’s recommendation, the Government in September 1970 decided that Telecoms should become a statutory corporation by 1 April 1972. With the absorption into the public service of the former staff of Cable & Wireless with effect from 1 April 1970, the Department was at last administered as one integrated whole, as mentioned in the report on the Telecoms Department for the year 1970 . Based on re-appraisals of requirements for telecommunications in the light of Singapore’s rapid economic growth in the preceding few years, the Department also formulated a broad long-term development programme for the period 1970-80, in the context of which an immediate programme for 1971-75 at an anticipated cost of over $21 million was adopted and substantially initiated during the year, as stated in the Annual Report 1970 . A newspaper cutting that was published by the Straits Times on 13 October 1971 reported that Telecoms made record profit of $25 million for 1970 as stated in Chapter VI of the Department’s 1970 Annual Report . The bulk of revenue came from telegrams (37%), overseas telephone (29%) and telex services (14%).
On 31 December 1971, Protem Secretary (TAS) suggested that a paragraph in the preliminary Annual Report 1971 be included to explain the rationale of forming a Provisional Board of the Telecommunication Authority of Singapore (TAS) in August 1971. This was to look into transitional problems and to ensure smooth changeover from a Government Department to a Statutory Corporation on 1 April 1972 . The continued high growth rate in all streams of telecommunications traffic had made 1971 a very successful year for the Telecoms Department, and all indicators supported the belief that Telecoms would enter a new phase of unprecedented expansion and progress to meet the requirements of the 1970s as illustrated in a graph on annual revenue growth rate for the years 1966 to 1971 . The Clerk of Parliament informed Permanent Secretary of Communications that the Parliamentary paper on "Annual Report of the Telecommunications Department, 1971" was presented in December 1972 . TAS sent the approved copy of the Telecommunications Annual Report 1971 to the Government Printer for printing.
As far back as 1969, the Ministry of Communications considering the importance of telecommunications as an infrastructure for the economic development of the Republic, and the need to maximise manpower and financial resources, recognized that there was a need to rationalise telecommunications services in the Republic. The Minister for Communications, in a speech on 8 July 1972, publicly announced the merger of the Singapore Telephone Board (STB), which was providing domestic services, and the Telecommunication Authority of Singapore (TAS) into a single corporation to be known as the TAS on 1 April 1974 .
The file also contains information relating to:
commissioning of a new computerised exchange on 1 July 1974 to allow telex subscribers to speedy connect with distant parties without operator intervention. Expansion of the national telex exchange was tied with the new computerised exchange . A week after the commissioning of the international telex exchange, equipment for the national telex expansion was also put into service and the Authority could therefore proceed to provide domestic telex service to waiting subscribers .
The year 1974/75 under review was the first year of enlarged operations of the new Authority, after the merger of the Singapore Telephone Board (STB) and former Telecommunication Authority of Singapore (TAS) on 1 April 1974 . The build-up of unsatisfied demand for telephone services could be attributed to the rapid economic growth of the Republic in 1972 and 1973 which had caused the actual telephone growth rates to exceed the anticipated rates . With the computerisation of the International Telex Exchange, there was effectively no waiting list for telex service at the end of March 1975 and there were 1,665 telex subscribers, a 42.3% increase over the March 1974 total of 1,170 . International data transmission over the International Switched Telephone Network known as Datel service was available to Australia, Demark, France, Hong Kong, United Kingdom and the United States of America. Plans were at hand to provide domestic Datel service over the National Switched Telephone Network .