Shortly after World War Two, in 1947, the company was founded by Lt Cdr Cecil Walker (GC, DSC, DSO, DFC) of the Fleet Air Arm who saw a gap in the market for an electrical store. Partnered with his brother-in-law (Mr Davidson from the Bentley store in Havant), the shop was started at 116 Elm Grove on the idyllic Hayling Island in Hampshire, England.
Over 70 years later, the business remains in the very same building.
The current Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Walker (Cecil’s son), was indirectly involved in the business from a very early age. His mother, Doris Walker, was known to hand-deliver radios around the island whilst pushing Anthony in his pushchair. At the age of 16, Anthony left school and started work in the shop after going away to Liverpool to study washing machines and other goods. As well as white goods and radios, Bentley Walker was selling records and ran a thriving record bar upstairs where all the locals would go to buy the latest music. When colour televisions became available in the mid-1960s, the company did not hang around to add these expensive items to their list of products. In addition to this, one of the first video libraries in the country was at Bentley Walker.
In the 1980s, Bentley Walker branched into the provision and installation of satellite television with a focus on the Middle Eastern market. The company was involved in the Saudi Arabia National Guard Communications (SANGCOM) project where they delivered satellite TV with dishes of mind-blowing proportions. Other custom included the House of Saud and emirs as well as militaries – particularly that of the United States. There was a boom in business during the First Gulf War due to the high demand for satellite television that the coalition forces had. During this time, Matthew Walker (Anthony’s son) joined the company at 18 – he is now the Managing Director.
When satellite internet technology was launched in the late-1990s, Bentley Walker was among the first companies to provide the service and worked extensively with Hughes. Quick uptake of the latest technology and a focus on customer service has taken this company from humble beginnings to global success. They are known both locally and worldwide for their expert opinion and excellent service. The combination of these two things has remained crucial to their continuing growth over the years.
In the following years, partnerships were forged with many leading satellite operators to resell their services – such as the Tooway and Avanti services currently available to customers in Europe.
However, 2012 saw the launch of Bentley Walker's own exclusive Ka-band service; Freedomsat. Freedomsat brings all the speed and coverage advantages of Ka-band to users across Africa and the Middle East. Working with resellers and distribution partners across the region, Bentley Walker bring a new standard of internet access to previously under-served regions.
The business is always quick off the mark; they are known by suppliers and customers alike for their trend-setting integration of new technology. Sheer entrepreneurialism has led the company to the forefront of a highly competitive worldwide market. Commentators have described Bentley Walker as the company that other providers would like to be or beat, and the most attractive partner for any wholesaler today.
Nowadays, Bentley Walker Ltd operates under the brand name of Freedomsat and runs many of its own networks around the world – provided by satellites such as Hylas 2, KA-SAT, T12v, T11n, AB2 and the Eutelsat fleet (amongst others). They have near complete coverage of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South America as well as an extensive network of local partners and seven teleports; Long Island (USA), Aflenz (Austria), Goonhilly (UK), Bedford (UK), Turin (Italy), Cagliari (Italy) and Cyprus.
In mid-2018, Freedomsat 4G was launched and became yet another example of the company embracing the latest changes in the industry and offering the newest products to its customers. This coincided with the introduction of the Satcube, KyWay terminal and other state-of-the-art mobile systems to the diverse range of products that Freedomsat provide.
Freedomsat can satisfy requirements for home, business, military or government usage with fixed, mobile and maritime solutions. Clients have included many militaries from around the globe, private security contractors, oil & gas companies, royalty and a myriad of big names. However, the company is also incredibly proud to serve tens of thousands of home users to help them stay connected irrespective of where they are.
Reflected in the name, Freedomsat is committed to realising its dream that everyone in the world should have the freedom of internet connectivity - no matter how remote they are - to stay in touch with friends and family, further education and stay entertained.
The company has been running for over seventy years and there is nothing to stop them from going another seventy – all the time embracing change, revolutionising the market, researching new avenues and, ultimately, striving to provide the best internet and customer service to the world.
For more information, or to see how Freedomsat could help you, send an email to sales@bentleywalker or call on +44 (0) 2392 311 103.