CCIQ Noosa investigates rollout of cheaper, faster broadband for region

Tuesday 20 October, 2015 | By: Darrell Giles | Tags: Noosa, NBN rollout, broadband;

Small businesses in Noosa might not have to wait for the delayed NBN rollout of high-speed internet.

CCIQ Noosa is investigating a fast, affordable and reliable broadband service for the local business community.

NBN Co representatives told CCIQ Noosa at a recent meeting that the region might not get broadband for 18 months – meaning 2017 before being connected.

So CCIQ Noosa did some checking of alternative solutions for itself.

New Chamber President Peter Chenoweth told small business members this week that a fast, affordable and reliable broadband network was the number one issue locally.

“It is a critical, missing piece of enabling infrastructure. Solving this issue is likely to help local businesses to become more profitable,” he said.

“Broadband is hard. It is a perfect storm for local businesses. It is complex, with many suppliers and many products; a lot of confusing, technical language is often used.

“It is further complicated by lags, arising from locked-in, two to three year contracts, which reduce the ability to switch suppliers.”

Mr Chenoweth said there were different needs among the local business community and available products did not necessarily align.

“There is uncertainty over the local availability of fixed-line NBN. And there is local prior failure, where some products were set at too high a price for the entry-level market segment and were not embraced.

“The central issue is: will the community choose to come together to help bring a new broadband technology to the shire, which has the potential for the first aerial to be potentially live by 30 June 2016.”

Mr Chenoweth said CCIQ Noosa was not endorsing or recommending any product, but would help small business become aware of new technology which could meet their needs sooner rather than later.

The meeting also heard from Andy Whitmore, co-founder and director of Our Community Broadband.

“We decided to start this company because when we arrived on the Sunshine Coast from the UK, we could not get the fast, affordable and reliable broadband which we were used to in the UK,” he said.

“As of earlier this week, we now have six live sites on the coast.

“If we get sufficient commitment from businesses and residents in Noosa in the near future, a site could be live here by 30 June 2016 and that’s being conservative.”

Mr Whitmore said if 200 businesses and residents within a 2km radius agreed to aggregate their demand over two years, then there could be live broadband in the region within a year.

“High-speed internet will be available to both residents and businesses from as low as $70 a month,” he said

The CCIQ Noosa meeting also discussed plans for a new food and wine festival in the region in 2016.

 

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