MOUNT Gambier Chamber of Commerce has championed the need for improved telecommunication connectivity across the Limestone Coast to support businesses’ online functionality and employees transitioning to working from home.
In a digital round table facilitated by Member for Barker Tony Pasin, chamber chairperson Hayley Neumann highlighted the importance of secure internet services in regional areas to National Broadband Network (NBN) officials.
The NBN plans to expand its on-theground resources in the region to help meet customer demand and ensure users are maximising the potential of their connections.
The round table discussion comes as applications for the $53m Regional Connectivity Program opened to help fund improved internet capabilities for the business sector.
Urging Limestone Coast businesses to explore the funding stream, Ms Neumann said stable internet was essential for regional business owners as online functionality increased.
“There are some businesses that are having trouble either connecting and have not seen a real improvement from changing from what they had before,” Ms Neumann said.
“A lot of businesses have been working from home and without the internet or NBN, this would not have been possible.
“I have been on video conference calls with people who are out of town and they have not had great speeds and it seems to be more for those who are out of town.”
Better accessibility to customers and increased cloud storage were also key talking points for Ms Neumann, who believed the round table meeting would produce positive outcomes for the region.
Meanwhile, Mr Pasin said the NBN had reached significant milestones ahead of schedule, despite recent bushfires and COVID-19 interruptions.
“The network has really been put to the test in recent months with more people working and studying at home,” Mr Pasin said.
“It has tested the network’s strength and adaptability and the business round table last night offered some great insight into the real life experiences of businesses during these difficult times as well as offering them advice and tips on how to improve their service.”
NBN South Australia regional head Tim Saul said COVID-19 showed people were able to work from home effectively, including in regional communities.
“We are now hoping many people will gravitate towards the region because of the liveability, the pricing and with good internet,” Mr Saul said.
“We want to provide a good social economic case because we would love to see a portion of this federal funding to go into South Australia.
“We are happy to work with businesses across the South East to get some of that funding and we are also in the process of employing someone on the ground to assist with further connectivity issues.”