Internet speeds damaging business on the Sunshine Coast
IN news that will come as no surprise, slow internet speeds are hindering the Sunshine Coast's ability to do business.
The Poole Group director Greg Tuckwell said "woefully slow" connection speeds were one of his biggest challenges.
"We do a lot in the cloud and we see the speeds are woeful, and it affects our productivity and the service we can deliver," Mr Tuckwell said.
"We have people working off site and it affects the speeds they can log in," he said.
"There is infrastructure in place, but we need it sooner rather than later - this (need) is happening now.
"We are actually having a meeting with our IT consultant today to look at our options for other carriers or infrastructure."
Mr Tuckwell raised a web article featuring Broadband Today Alliance small business adviser Tony Chadwick bemoaning this nation's internet speeds.
Data from 108 countries had Australia ranked 103rd for uploading speed and 53rd in downloading speed, with an average upload speed of 3.1Mbps. This figure, however, is skewed up because it takes into account cable and fibre connections, whereas most people in regional areas have access to only ADSL 1 and 2 (limited to 0.8Mbps).
In this context, Mr Tuckwell was pleased to attend the launch of the Draft Digital Action Plan at the university last week.
"We are seeing more businesses moving to the cloud and it means that we need to have this technology working well here, or companies will move away," he said.
"This plan is a great stepping stone to the future; some of the projects will help us redefine how we do things on the Coast and help us move forward into a more technological era."
The plan is a collaborative project driven by Regional Development Australia Sunshine Coast. It is open for feedback via the website until the end of October.
RDA chief executive officer Russell Mason said: "We want to hear from everyone - the community, not for profits, business associations, businesses.
"Businesses that are offering free wi-fi can upload their location on to our map, and they can sign up if they feel they are not getting fast enough internet," Mr Mason said.
"We will use that to lobby telcos and create a new map to show hot spots where people are demanding better internet."
Mr Mason said feedback would inform a final action plan by the end of the year.
Topping a list of 15 recommended actions in the plan is infrastructure investment, "getting the mix of both fibre optic cables and wi-fi at the right balance, across the entire Sunshine Coast region, through increased competition and both public and private investment".
Other suggested actions are: implementing a fully connected smart region, including digital innovation as part of the school and VET curriculum, appointing a chief digital officer, and creating digital work hubs.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said: "All businesses, governments and individuals will be affected by digital disruption, therefore everyone has a role to play to respond to these challenges and opportunities.
"The Sunshine Coast already has a variety of highly talented and motivated businesses and individuals who are world leaders in their fields and impacting positively in the community using digital platforms, tools and techniques."
Atmail, Traffika, Cloud DC, The Creative Collective, Poole Group, Sundale, CCIQ Sunshine Coast plus other groups and government agencies.