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Wide Bay Burnett business poised for growth

16 September 2020

Businesses across the Wide Bay Burnett region are poised for growth with better internet coming to the area thanks to the Queensland Government opening up its underused fibre-optic infrastructure and the support of a local business development group.

According to Marcus McCormick, Manager of Regional Business HQ, a not-for-profit that offers professional business support to early stage enterprise throughout the Wide Bay Burnett region, the improved connectivity will better enable the organisation to assist these businesses to grow.

“Our clients outside Bundaberg in North and South Burnett experience very unreliable internet which has negatively impacted on their capacity to expand beyond the region and to tap into the high level of professional support on offer through our organisation.

“We predominantly service small business in the first four years of operation and at that stage of the of the cycle, it’s crucial for them to have access to cloud-based resources like productivity tools, accounting software and support programs to grow their business more quickly.

“It may also be just as simple as the capacity to join a Zoom meeting or online workshop to float ideas and hear the stories of others, with the opportunity for many heads to solve a problem,” he said.

Regional Business HQ offers three-tiered support to local business that includes space provision for small business through the Incubator initiative, co-working opportunities through the Generator facility and business advice for early stage business via the Business Leap program.

Mr McCormick emphasised that good internet was crucial to business growth and particularly important to regional and remote-based businesses.

“Improved reliability and speed will have a very positive impact on remotely-based businesses in the area, given they have been plagued with significant connectivity challenges.

“To have parity with our metropolitan counterparts will give regional business a big leg up,” Mr McCormick added.

QCN Fibre will be the platform that brings metropolitan-grade services, at metropolitan prices, to regional Queensland.

QCN Fibre is a new telecommunications company jointly owned by Powerlink Queensland and Energy Queensland, formed to help regional business development by using the spare fibre optic cabling and selling this “backhaul” capacity to providers on a wholesale basis.

The backhaul cabling – high-capacity lines that transmit between sites or to a central point - is being made available to carry internet and data services at capacities up to 100Gbs, for businesses and residences.

QCN Fibre CEO Derek Merdith said QCN Fibre was partnering with local internet service providers, as well as the major carriers, to improve coverage, capacity and cost in the regions.

“In areas currently underserviced by existing telecommunications players, the partnership will build the ‘last mile’ connections to serve the residential and business markets,” Mr Merdith said.