A “game-changing” upgrade to Bomen’s internet connection has been welcomed by Wagga businesses.
The plan to roll out fibre-optic cable to all Bomen premises was approved during a closed-doors session of Tuesday night’s council meeting, paving the way for the fastest internet speeds offered by the National Broadband Network.
According to the resolution of council released on Tuesday night, the Department of Premier and Cabinet had offered $20,000 towards detailed design work and general manager Peter Thompson had been given the authority to enter into agreements with both the state and NBN Co.
ProWay managing director Paul Gianniotis said it would greatly improve his business.
“We absolutely need a faster connection… we’ve got satellite offices throughout country Victoria and NSW and we’ve got our main server and hub here at Bomen,” Mr Gianniotis said.
“The internet speed restricts what we can and can’t do… we’re getting synchronisation errors all the time, but with this sort of speed all of those problems go away.
“It will give us the opportunity to be more efficient and also open up options for cloud-based programs that we can’t use now because of our slow internet.”
Fixed wireless NBN technology was already available in Bomen, which Mr Gianniotis said was much faster than the older connections, but the proposed fibre-optic cable would be at least 10 times quicker again.
“I got called to a meeting at council and much to my delight I found out about this, because internet speeds do hamstring our business and the vibe at the meeting was it was a case of when, not if, which is music to my ears,” Mr Gianniotis said.
““If (council) wants to attract business then fast internet is an absolute must.
“I have 85 employees at Bomen, half of them on computers, so when the connection is slow the downtime multiplies quickly.”
The reliability of hardwired connections was also much better than wireless, Mr Gianniotis said, which would help prevent some ridiculous situations.
“Sometimes it’s perfect and other times it’s terrible and when you’re trying to pay wages on a Wednesday night and the NBN goes down, you have to do silly things like pack up payroll and go to someone’s house to process it that night,” he said. “When you’ve got blokes waiting to be paid it can be a headache.”
Councillor Paul Funnell said the high-speed upgrade was “a no-brainer” and was approved without hesitation.
“This will be an economic driver unlike anything Wagga’s ever seen, this is a game-changer,” Cr Funnell said.
“Not only is this a game-changer for business, it’s also an amazing carrot for attracting business from across Australia… Bomen’s no longer just a field of dreams, this is the infrastructure businesses need.
“This really is an outstanding situation we find ourselves in and we need to hurry up and hammer home what we’ve got, we’ll be the envy of regional areas across Australia.”
The upgrade could also see more businesses “decentralise” with major city services available at a fraction of the cost.
“We talk about the global economy, well we’re holding the ace here, we’ve got affordable housing, all the services and facilities a business would need, hourly flights and good land-based links… they could get out of the Sydney congestion problems and then free up that land as well, it’s a win-win,” Cr Funnell said.
“We’ve been hampered in regional areas with this wireless access but with the majority of business now being done online, now we’ll have the fastest internet available.
“The flow-on effects for Wagga are immeasurable, I see nothing but up from here… the sky’s the limit.”