Fast-growing South Australian SMEs and startups will now have access to internet speeds 100 times faster than the national average, after the state government officially launched its ultra high-speed internet connection for businesses through the GigCity program on Thursday.
With the network officially switched on in 14 different “key innovation sites” across the state yesterday, businesses in the region are raring to get on board.
Speaking to SmartCompany at the launch, Michelle Fraser, chief executive of genomic technology development company Reproductive Health Science (RHS), said the new network would “substantially improve” the way her company does business.
“We’re a global company that’s ASX-listed, and we’ve been running on a 6Mbps connection, which has absolutely limited the business,” Fraser said.
“We send genetic information internationally which uses gigs of data files, and we have cloud-based analytics solutions as well, so we were being limited with those.
“Sometimes it would take days to download our data files, and with the new network this will change to minutes.”
Right now, businesses around Australia can lock down data speeds of 400mbps from telecom providers such as IInet and TPG, but Adelaide’s new network will provide speeds of one gigabit per second, piggybacking on the already existing high-speed network provided to universities in the region by SabreNet.
Plans will start at a “micro business” level, with 200 gigabytes of data for $50 per month, ranging up to a full-scale business plan, offering one terabyte of data for $180 per month.
The roll-out of the network is part of the South Australian government’s $80 million package, included in the most recent state budget, to encourage startup and business growth in the region. The same package also includes the state’s $50 million venture capital fund to support the startup ecosystem.
Speaking to SmartCompany, South Australia’s innovation minister Kyam Maher says SMEs and startups will now have to think of “reasons not to come to Adelaide”.
“The GigCity network is an essential part of what we’re doing in terms of promoting innovation entrepreneurship and a startup ecosystem in South Australia,” Maher said.
“It’s great creating an environment that helps innovation and helps startups flourish, but without being connected exceptionally quickly to the rest of the world, then there is an essential element missing.”
Maher says the government has put a “lot of thought” into how it can position Adelaide and South Australia as a hub for startups, noting the partnership with the established SabreNet was essential in getting GigCity up and running.
“If we started from scratch it would be many many tens of millions of dollars to start a new fibre network, so we started a discussion with SabreNet which was established about decade ago,” he says.
“This allowed us to do something that would have cost orders of magnitude more to establish it without.”
For Fraser’s business, the new ultra high-speed network means more than just improved functionality; she believes the benefits for her business’ connectivity on a global scale will do wonders for its appearance as a mature company.
“When you’re in meetings the best thing you can do is give the impression you’re an advanced company. The internet will hold your business back if you can’t do a good web-based meeting,” Fraser said.
“Even if you are a small company, if you can appear like you’ve got your act together, you’ve got the infrastructure and resources you need, you are in appearance a more mature company.
“We’re a growing business, so the more business we can do, the better.”
SmartCompany travelled to Adelaide as a guest of the South Australian government.