NBN Co has connected its first fixed wireless service in South Australia as part of a rollout in the Coorong region.
More than 975 farms, homes and businesses in Tailem Bend, Coonalpyn, Tintinara, Naracoorte North and Meningie now have the option of switching on the fixed wireless service.
South Australia’s first person to use an NBN Fixed Wireless service, Internode customer, Darren Smedley, comes from a family of fast adopters.
In an odd coincidence, Darren, of Tailem Bend, has followed in the footsteps of his mother, who was the first person in the rural town, about 100km south east of Adelaide, to receive an ADSL2+ broadband service nine years ago.
Darren said his mother used the broadband connection to audit the accounts at brother Phil’s Bridgestone Tyre Centres.
“She also talked me into getting broadband, so I connected up my business, Smedley Tyre Service in Tailem Bend, to let my wife Tania work from home while looking after the kids during the holidays.”
According to NBN Co, the service will provide speeds of 25 megabits per second for download and five megabits per second for upload.
NBN Co spokesperson, Joe Dennis, said NBN Co’s fixed wireless service was designed to deliver internet speeds to regional South Australia that were taken for granted in the cities.
“For the Coorong, it means local businesses can participate in the digital economy and maximise the tourism potential of the proposed Motor Sports Precinct in Tailem Bend," he said.
"Residents will also gain improved access to services such as e-health, distance education and online entertainment through superior connectivity.”
Coorong District Council Chief Executive Officer, Vincent Cammell, said tourism was the future for the Coorong and the NBN was critical in helping local businesses realise this vision through the digital economy.
“The NBN gives local businesses the opportunity to better attract tourists through digital marketing and make it easier for them to stay longer through increased connectivity," he said.
"Local residents will also benefit from improved services which will help close the digital divide between city and country,” said Mr Dennis
Unlike a mobile wireless service, where speeds can be affected by the number of people moving into and out of the area, NBN Co's fixed wireless network is engineered to deliver services to a fixed number of premises within a coverage area.
Smedley ordered the NBN through Internode - part of the ASX-listed iiNet Group, which has more than 36,000 NBN customers nationally.
Unlike his mother’s ADSL2+ service, whose performance depended on the state of copper telephone lines and distance from the telephone exchange, their new 25/5 NBN fixed wireless service delivers a guaranteed quality service for their internet access.
Darren said the NBN fixed wireless service was installed at his home, where he had relied on 3G broadband for Internet access since moving in seven months ago.
“I do a lot of invoicing off my iPad, which has its own 3G SIM, but that was costing me a fortune to use,” he said.
“Overall, our business has eight mobiles, four landlines and my iPad, so we’re expecting to save a lot on communication costs.”
As well as Smedley Tyre Service, Smedley runs a spinoff business, called the Tyre Surgeon, which performs tyre repairs and renovations for other tyre centres throughout SA and customers as far afield at Moomba, Birdsville and Victoria.
Darren said his new NBN Fixed Wireless service was a boon for both businesses.
“It means we can both work remotely from home and do a lot more bookwork after hours,” he said.
“The real benefit is the speed."