Council calls on businesses to push for fast internet
SUNSHINE Coast Council has taken the unusual step of encouraging businesses to surrender private information to telecommunications providers, in a bid to prove the Sunshine Coast is ready for high speed, business-quality broadband.
Together with Regional Development Australia, the council has launched the Speed It Up campaign, which aims to "force the carriers into greater action and investment", Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said.
Businesses deciding which telecommunications company to sign up with for broadband can access a Carrier Coverage map as part of the campaign.
The website will collect business details that will be shared with the telcos, Mr Jamieson told business leaders at an event at Coastline BMW last week.
Mr Jamieson said a lack of digital infrastructure was the primary concern of respondents to a survey that informed the Sunshine Coast Digital Plan last year.
"While the National Broadband Network with its faster broadband speeds is beginning to be rolled out across the region, for many there is an urgent need to resolve their broadband issues now," he said.
"There is a clear need to increase the availability of competitively priced broadband infrastructure in all areas and we need to identify where business grade coverage exists.
"The carriers want to know where the demand is to justify making an investment."
Competing carrier coverage in the one location will appear on an independent platform to help inform businesses on what is available and who provides the right offering for their broadband needs, he said.
"Before signing a lease or buying a property, businesses will be better placed to identify the availability and cost of quality broadband coverage," Mr Jamieson said.
The information provided on the Carrier Coverage map comes directly from the telecommunications providers who were asked to provide one type of technology solution that would best meet the needs of the business community.
Mr Jamieson said three telecommunications companies had provided information for the map, and other carriers were looking to add their services.
Atmail CEO Zach Johnson and Gourmet Garden Herbs & Spices COO Andrew Eves-Brown spoke at the campaign launch and networking evening, which was organised by RDA's Digital Sunshine Coast team and Kawana Chamber of Commerce with help from University of the Sunshine Coast students.
Both companies reach global audiences through the use of technology and the web.
Mr Johnson said all software used by Atmail was cloud-based, making data available in real time to staff based around the world.
"We don't use them (cloud-based apps) because they're cool or have funny names, we use them because they genuinely help our business," he said.
Assessing what customers liked and evaluating performance of every pillar of his business was made easier, he said, because "every single aspect" of the business was measured by analytics software.
"We develop a rapport with our customers through technology," he said. "We have to make our customers feel like we're bigger than we are."