Australia is rapidly evolving as an innovative digital economy and given our geographic diversity, it comes as no surprise that engine rooms of the new economy are sparking up across areas far from cities.
Regional start-ups, businesses and individuals are dependent on the internet for their productivity and business continuity but are often falling through the cracks of the digital divide.
As the NBN rollout gathers pace, regional Australia has more choice than ever before but many consumers are not aware of the benefits or opportunities.
Key issues that are emerging as a barrier to accessing new connectivity services include education, access to current information and explanation of technology choices available.
For Petros Mak, headquartering an international online gaming start-up in Brim, Victoria a remote town with a population of around 260, has come with some significant challenges.
As the CEO of Mak Corp, a gaming software development company for online racing games and educational driving simulation, Petros is dependant on reliable, always on internet connectivity.
As a true enterprise of the digital startup economy, Mak Corp has a development team of around 40 professionals that are dispersed around the globe working across time zones spanning from Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Japan, India, Sth Africa and Morocco.
“My company started as a hobby but over time companies have asked us to develop software for them. Currently we are working with a Brisbane based company to develop a driving simulation racing game for schools,”
The Mak Corp business needs access to connectivity that supports high bandwidth traffic for uploading large content files and downloading critical software updates.
“We are a heavily connection dependent business with online collaboration being a feature of our operation. Our software builds and testing are all done online with our global team . Also I am reliant on Skype for professional and personal use,” .
Living in a regional town, Petros was used to limited connectivity options yet working with developers in areas such as India, Africa and Asia he was shocked to discover that overseas towns far more remote and economically challenged than Brim enjoyed much faster and robust levels of internet connectivity.
Petros has been using ISDN for a number of years and was then offered satellite from the NBN in 2007/2008. Unfortunately the migration was not optimal as the satellite pricing and level of bandwidth available did no suit his basic business needs.
“We experienced constant drop outs and it was hard to load any applications successfully. In my business we need Windows software updates constantly for operations and network security. With the slow connection and drop outs, it was impossible to install new updates and if successful the bandwidth required would wipe out my monthly cap.”
Fixed wireless services were released in the Brim area earlier this year and Activ8me started a comprehensive roadshow and campaign to communicate the connectivity benefits available to the region.
Petros discovered Activ8me’s fixed wireless service and seamlessly switched within a day of installation to the new services featuring unlimited bandwidth on the fastest speed for $84.95.
Tony Bundrock, CEO of Activ8me said education in regional areas was now vital to ensuring that consumers that may have had inadequate broadband services can now reap the benefits of the NBN.
“Activ8me is now able to service 255,000 premises in regional Australia with NBN Fixed Wireless and an additional 300,000 premises within the next 12 months. For residents currently using satellite internet technology, NBN Fixed Wireless is a significant experience upgrade with consistency of service, fast connectivity and uncapped bandwidth packages,”
Moving to NBN Fixed Wireless with Activ8me has allowed Mak Corp to increase productivity and enjoy a dramatically enhanced connectivity experience. “Our productivity has accelerated. As a company the development and testing of our products has become 4-5 times faster and as a result, decreased production costs by around 4 times. As a home user, the ability to stream videos on Youtube and especially the online gaming experience has been perfect. I am also grateful that Activ8me was so proactive at advising me when fixed wireless would be available and explaining the dramatically different service that would be expected,” Petros said.
As of the 25th May, NBN reached a milestone of 1 million premises that can connect to the NBN. Currently over 870,000 homes and businesses are experiencing faster connectivity due to the NBN.
However, despite the NBN’s high profile in the media, many consumers are still facing confusion on how to sign up to the service, who does what and how to get connected.
Regional residents can find out more information on NBN Fixed Wireless service areas and plans by contacting Activ8me on 13 22 88 or visiting: www.activ8me.net.au/nbnco-wireless