Slow internet hurting businesses
Tuesday, 20th December, 2011
By Erica Visser
Local businesses and education services have been left struggling due to poor broadband infrastructure, acccording to artist John Hart who said that the Pro Hart Gallery had lost business due to the service.
Mr Hart said that up until switching to Internode two months ago he had used the Telstra Bigpond service.
According to Mr Hart the service was “appalling”.
“The internet had deteriorated to such an extent that I contacted Telstra and in the exchange they said they had no real interest in any upgrades in the forseeable future,” he said.
Mr Hart said that the business relied on the internet to make national and international sales.
“It’s crucial for us. We use it for direct marketing, Ebay and uploading pictures.
“The connection was so bad we couldn’t actually upload so we had to send cds interstate for someone else to do it.
“With Telstra the internet slowed right down. It was hard to upload and it’s a common frustration.
Mr Hart said that these everyday “frustrations” meant that the business could not function online.
“We’ve defintely lost business to the point where we couldn’t actually keep the website running effectively.
“If we can’t upload pictures, we can’t sell products.
“I have an exhibition in Spain next year. Now for me to send examples of my artwork to Spain I’ve got to send them to someone else first.
“If we weren’t in the country we wouldn’t be putting up with this. It’s insane in this day and age.”
BH University Department of Rural Health Senior Lecturer Steve Flecknoe- Brown said that while the service once had the best connection in the State, they were now lagging behind.
“When I came here 12 years ago we had the best connection of anywhere in NSW because they recognised the distance we had to deal with,” Dr Flecknoe-Brown said.
“Unfortunately nothing has changed here whilst everywhere else has got faster.
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“Now we’re pretty slow by comparision and it just takes that much longer to get your video loaded or to just do basic comuting.”
Dr Flecknoe-Brown said that he had problems the internet “on multiple occasions during the day.
“The thing that really, really has changed is we used to have the ability to have very good video conferencing,” he said.
“That saves a lot of time and money, enormous amounts in airfares.
“Almost every video conference I’m involved with these days has at least one freeze lasting 30 seconds to a minute and it is not unusual for it to completely go down.”
He referred to one particular program where it was now impossible to participate to a full extent.
“We’ve always been one of the most vigorous partcipants in the rural areas,” he said.
“Again most of the time it’s a stuttering, pixalated, clunky view for at least a quarter of the presentation.
“Second, because of the demand on networks, we’re no longer able to ask our questions in person - we have to pick up phone and record them.
“That has two effects; it takes away the interchange which is a really important part of adult learning and the pressure’s not on you to ask a question.”
Dr Flecknoe-Brown said that delivering better broadband to the city was important on a large scale.
“We’d do a lot more of education, a lot more meeting and it would save a lot of workers time.
“The ability to have really high connection with all our facilities is really important to me.
“I have dreams of this place becoming a centre of adult learning and excellence and we really need that stuff to operate.
“We have trouble recruiting people to the bush. If we had a better connection, they wouldn’t feel as isolated.”