A new high-speed internet service will be switched on this week for some graziers and the local council in the Richmond area of north Queensland.
The service was set-up by the Harrington family, who live at Olga Downs station about 50 kilometres north of town.
William Harrington from Olga Downs said building a new internet service was a necessity for running his electronics company on the station.
"We said we've got to do something about this and we decided to build a wireless link 46 kilometres long from Richmond to the station, just to be able to run our business," Mr Harrington said.
He said although computing equipment was becoming less expensive the project would not be possible without a client as big as the Richmond Shire Council.
"We've hooked into a fibre optic cable running from Townsville to Mount Isa and it's extremely expensive," he said.
"It was cost prohibitive for us to do that by ourselves in a small town.
"So we've partnered with the local council to be able to do that and it's a win-win for both of us."
New options for the council
For the Richmond Shire Council, the Harrington's internet service gave them another option to Telstra, who in the past has been their only provider.
Richmond Shire Chef Executive Officer Peter Bennett said along with supporting a local business, the decision also made economic and logistical sense.
"Currently if you have a look at what we've got, we've got about nine Telstra and TPG connections," Mr Bennett said.
"Under the new system we don't have to pay for all those separate connections, so that saves us about $700 a month.
"The new connection will also connect things like our workshop, our water treatment plant, caravan park, library and the museum under one network."
Mr Bennett said the new connection would also give them higher quality internet which would allow them to do things they have not been able to do before.
"You've got the other benefit of having fibre, so we can have video conferencing which we struggle with at the moment," he said.
Although the connection is limited to a handful of graziers and the council, Mr Harrington said they would like to extend it in the future.
"We're really hoping to get to as many stations outside of the Richmond town as we can," he said.
"We'd like to go north and south and eventually work our way east and west towards Hughenden and Julia Creek."
However, he said the short term aim was to prove to potential customers that the new connection worked.
"Once it's up and running we will be able to demonstrate the benefits of having access to this fibre optic cable to hopefully other councils to be able to work with them."
(ABC Rural: Eric Barker)
Posted on Thu, December 29, 2016
by Emily Harrington filed under