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Richmond's internet service Wi-Sky could service other remote communities

An independent business in north Queensland aims to be a pilot for other remote communities struggling to access a substantial internet connection.

Located 50 kilometres north of Richmond on Olga Downs station, William Harrington created an pilot service to provide internet to his station and run his electronics company.

“Our property was right on the edge of 3G range but was costing $50 a month for 12GB, we couldn’t run our business,” he said.

“So we built a wireless link from our house with ADSL in town and relayed the connection 46 kilometres to our station to be able to run our business. Once we did this it allowed our business to grow.”

Mr Harrington partnered with Field Solutions Group to provide a carrier for his service Wi-Sky and partnered with Richmond Shire Council to assist in funding the $200,000 service to the entire town.

For the Richmond Shire Council, Wi-Sky allowed another option to Telstra, who in the past has been their only provider.

Richmond Shire Council Chief Executive Officer, Peter Bennett, said along with supporting a local business, the decision also made economic and logistical sense.

“We had meetings with Telstra to see if they would put our plan into play but the price was unreasonable,” Mr Bennett said.

“By teaming up with Will we don’t just have a cheaper solution but we have the social responsibility of helping those who have poor internet access.”

Once the 6.5 kilometre fibre optic infrastructure is in place around the town, the community would not be limited to what they can do. 

Council will have the opportunity to video conference and save on travel, the library will also have faster internet.

Mr Harrington said Wi-Sky had the ability to supply internet to the whole Richmond community.

“Locals will connect to Wi-Sky through wireless and will only pay for the speed they want. I am confident we can supply a better service than the NBN simply by the way our plan is set out,” he said.

“At the moment we are focusing on Richmond but once this is up and running, we will open this plan to other communities like Hughenden and Julia Creek who could also utilise this service.

“We will be able to show them how it works, why it is successful and how we could implement it to their community.”

Wi-Sky is expected to be servicing the whole Richmond community by May 2017.

Samantha Walton