The FiRe Entrepreneur of the Year award acknowledges Simon as an international citizen, whose combination of business acumen and strategic sense of global priorities has led to the creation of new companies with large, beneficial impact on the planet and its inhabitants.
The award is given only when there is an obvious candidate to be so honoured. The last recipient was Elon Musk, past founder and CEO of PayPal, and current Chairman of Solarcity, and Chairman and CEO of Tesla Motors and Space Exploration Technologies, Inc.
"We are proud to recognise Simon Hackett as the 2011 FiRe Entrepreneur of the Year," said FiRe Chair and Strategic News Service CEO Mark Anderson.
"Simon has combined the assets of technical prowess, informed decision-making, and a sense of business opportunity and customer need, to provide innovative delivery of the most important modern service in his continent: widely available high speed broadband Internet access.
The emerging Australian National Broadband Network, slated to deliver 100 per cent population coverage (93 per cent direct fibre-to-the-premises and seven per cent wireless and satellite), on which Internode was one of the first retail service providers to deliver customer connections, flows directly from the roots Simon has been planting in Australia since his first days in business.
In a technology-driven world needful of role models for the next generation, Simon provides an excellent example of great spirit and entrepreneurship."
Simon Hackett launched Australian broadband company Internode in 1991, after turning down a lucrative job offer in the United States. 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 ADSL2+ customers nationally and operating a tier one communications network that encircles the globe.
In 2003, Internode played a central role in deploying a major WiFi wireless network starting in Adelaide and now extending to hundreds of sites nationally. Internode has also designed and built a pervasive fixed WiMax network spanning significant parts of South Australia’s rural farming belt and demonstrating the effectiveness of WiMax and LTE for regional broadband services delivery.
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.
"While we have made some significant inroads in wireless services, our key role in the emergence of the fibre-based Australian National Broadband Network is perhaps the greatest achievement for Internode to date," said Simon Hackett, Internode’s founder and Managing Director.
"I’m very proud to receive this award on behalf of my team. Their actions and efforts have embodied my belief in customer service, transparency, flexibility and honesty. This has made it possible for us to gain and hold the highest customer satisfaction rating in our sector in Australia - so we must be doing something right!"
Future in Review is an annual gathering of world-class thought leaders in technology and economics. FiRe attendees convene each year with the goal of solving major world problems; a goal that is consistently met through FiRe’s collaboration across disparate industries and the intellectual and strategic guidance of FiRe Chair and SNS CEO, Mark Anderson. Now in its ninth year, Future in Review 2011 took place May 24-27 at the beautiful Montage Resort in Laguna Beach, California. The Economist has called FiRe "the best technology conference in the world".