Held August 19, the Connected@Yorke event celebrated Yorke Peninsula's accomplishment in becoming Australia's first community to successfully achieve a region-wide, broadband service using WiMAX wireless technology. Internode has partnered with the District Council of Yorke Peninsula, with support from State and Federal Governments, to deliver this ambitious project.
Federal Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy and South Australian Minister for Science & Information Economy Paul Caica headlined the one-day event which profiled the gains made in the remote agricultural area.
In December 2004, only 10 per cent of Yorke Peninsula's Internet-connected households used broadband. This figure had grown to 45 per cent by March 2007, driven by a confluence of government awareness-raising and infrastructure programs and active broadband promotion by Internode.
At the event, Senator Conroy cited a survey showing that 64 per cent of farms in the region had, or had ordered, broadband services, with a further 20 per cent indicating an intention to. "I understand that 97 per cent of Yorke Peninsula's population is now able to access terrestrial broadband services," he said.
"The Yorke Peninsula broadband network is a great example of collaboration by all tiers of government, the community and the private sector. It is with genuine pleasure that I offer my congratulations to the District Council of Yorke Peninsula, the Yorke Peninsula community and Internode - Agile Communications for your collaboration over the years to make your vision a reality."
Minister Caica also released an independent report that reveals the economic benefits to the region of adopting wireless broadband. The report was commissioned by the State Government and co-funded by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
"It quantifies a direct benefit to the Yorke Peninsula of $21.4 million over five years, plus an additional benefit of $4.1 million to the rest of the State, making the total benefits to South Australia as a whole over that period around $25.5 million," he said.
Mr. Caica described the achievement in the SA region as a "very significant pioneering effort." "This project is a shining example of the benefits of community engagement," he said.
Internode managing director Simon Hackett, who has taken a strong personal interest in the Yorke Peninsula project since it began in late 2004, said the Connected@Yorke event was a celebration of success. "This network achieves performance levels matching those being sought by the Federal Government in the National Broadband network for 98 per cent of the population," he said.
"Customers can access six megabit per second services today, with a planned network upgrade slated to deliver 12 megabit per second services by June 2009. What makes this project significant is that it exists in a remote regional area that is part of the remaining two per cent, previously considered to be in the 'too hard' basket. I'm very proud of the work done by the Internode guys and girls who made this possible - with a combination of lobbying, planning, engineering, design, construction, diagnostics, head-scratching and good old-fashioned bloody hard work."
"The Connected@Yorke event held an afternoon of demonstrations and tutorials, including an ABC new media representative demonstrating its iView service. It all ran over a WiMAX connection on a 22 kilometre link from the Minlaton Town Hall to one of our towers in the peninsula. And it worked just brilliantly."
South Australian Minister for Science & Information Economy, Paul Caica;
Internode Founder and Managing Director, Simon Hackett;
Federal Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy;
District Council of Yorke Peninsula Mayor, Ray Agnew.