Since then, Simon’s start-up has become Australia’s largest privately-owned broadband provider, with 450 employees at offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, servicing more than 200,000 customers nationally and operating a tier one communications network that encircles the globe.
Internode delivers fixed line, ADSL2+, fibre optic and 3G wireless broadband services to both business and residential customers nationally. The company maintains high capacity connectivity to the US, Asia and Europe, guaranteeing its customers high-speed Internet access to online resources worldwide.
During the past two decades, the name Internode has become synonymous with innovation, chalking up a remarkable number of firsts in order to advance broadband delivery in Australia.
In 2001, Internode launched its first ADSL services to the market and commenced its transition from being a major South Australian dialup Internet provider to a national broadband services player.
In 2003, Internode played a central role in deploying a major WiFi wireless network - still available for free as CityLan - covering large areas of the Adelaide central business district. This service has since been expanded nationally.
In 2005, Internode became the first Australian company to offer commercial full-rate ADSL2+ services, ushering in a new era of high-speed broadband by throwing off the artificial constraints of first generation ADSL.
In 2007, Internode launched Australia’s first region-wide WiMAX broadband network on the Yorke Peninsula, transforming the former communications backwater into a state-of-the-art wirelessly-linked region.
Today, Internode continues to lead the Australian broadband industry through its pioneering activities as the first Australian ISP to offer its national customer base full Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) connectivity: Migrating to IPv6 is an essential step to address the impending shortage of current-generation IPv4 Internet addresses.
Internode is also embracing the opportunities offered by the National Broadband Network as one of the NBN’s pioneering retail service providers at its first sites in Tasmania and in Armidale, NSW.
As managing director, Simon Hackett is still actively involved with the company he founded 20 years ago, although day-to-day operations are handled by an experienced management team, led by Chief Executive Officer Patrick Tapper.
"Simon is a visionary who is extraordinarily motivated to achieve what is possible with technology," said Mr. Tapper. "During the past two decades, Simon has built a team of people that has made Internode into a truly unique company, both nationally and internationally," he said.
"As well as its amazing record of innovation, Internode during the past 18 months has achieved first place in more than a dozen independent customer satisfaction surveys held nationally - an incredible achievement in any industry, let alone the demanding area of technology."
"As it celebrates its 20th birthday, Internode is ideally positioned to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the NBN during the next few years: We have a national organisation, a high performance network, happy customers and a talented and enthusiastic team."
"We are enormously positive about the next 20 years."
As a footnote, after leaving the University of Adelaide in 1991, Simon Hackett turned down a lucrative job offer from a Silicon Valley software firm at the dawn of the Dot Com Decade to start his own business.
"When a company in California made me a very generous job offer to move to the US, I thought seriously about it, but I’d always had an irrationally strong desire to run my own company," recalls Simon.
To paraphrase the poet Robert Frost, Simon took the path less travelled by - and that has made all the difference.