News

Neil gets the internet in Africa, but not here

Neil Coningham is unable to access the internet at his Urraween home.
Neil Coningham is unable to access the internet at his Urraween home. Alistair Brightman

LEAVING the Fraser Coast has become one of the few options left for an Urraween web-based business owner left without an internet connection.

Neil Coningham relies on a good connection for his business building and updating applications for mobile phones.

Since Mr Coningham moved into his new home at Urraween last November, he hasn't been able to obtain an internet port.

He told the Chronicle leaving the Fraser Coast to move to an area with better infrastructure was likely.

"After speaking to everyone we have; Telstra, the Minister for Communications and all the MPs - I've very much given up that it's not going to happen."

"When it's (the lease) up there's a good chance of me moving somewhere else."

"I come from the deepest darkest parts of Africa and I can get a connection there," he said.

A new report has found Mr Coningham is not the only Fraser Coast business owner struggling with the region's digital infrastructure.

Broadband blackspots were found across Maryborough and Hervey Bay.

The report was commissioned by Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisation of Councils and has named several priorities for infrastructure development.

For the Fraser Coast, this included upgrading service near the industrial development area on the Bruce Hwy that currently has poor coverage.

Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell said the results of the report would enable the council to hold discussions with telecommunication carriers such as Telstra and Optus to secure better service.

Meanwhile, some areas of the Fraser Coast are closer to getting faster internet after more National Broadband Network planning submissions were made to council.

NBN Co has begun lodging planning submissions with Fraser Coast Regional Council for new fixed wireless facilities.

The facilities will be dedicated to delivering fast, fixed wireless internet services to smaller townships and rural residential areas such as Boonooroo and Craignish in the Fraser Coast region.

NBN Co spokesman Ryan Williams said this was good news for residents and businesses in the region.

"They will be among the first in the Fraser Coast region to connect to the NBN," he said.

NBN information sessions will be held at the Maryborough City Hall on March 11 and at the Hervey Bay Arts and Crafts Village Hall at 187 Bideford St on March 12. Both sessions will run between 3pm and 7pm.

Internet an ongoing problem

A 2012 report from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland found local businesses were concerned over the lack of digital infrastructure.

The then-Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce president Bernard Whebell said Fraser Coast businesses were especially concerned over when the National Broadband Network would come to the Fraser Coast.

In March 2012 the Fraser Coast missed out on being among the 3.5 million homes and businesses to be connected to the National Broadband Network before 2015.

Topics:  urraween



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