Waimate’s slow internet is “killing” business according to a resident who runs an online business from her home.
Councillor elect Jakki Guilford said poor internet speed had cost her work, and clients, because she could not be reliably contacted via the internet.
She also said mobile coverage in the area was poor and other people in the community had raised similar internet problems.
Guilford had been operating YourBizHub, which provides administrative, business development, marketing and graphic design services, from her home since last year. She moved to a brand new house on a farm near Waihao Forks, 12 minutes outside of Waimate, in May.
“I can’t run my business because I can’t Skype,” Guilford said.
“It’s like going back to the dark ages … it’s killed my business.”
The district recorded the slowest internet in the country in figures released by Chorus earlier this month. Waimate had an average connection speed of 11 megabits-per-second (Mbps) in June, which was up from 9 Mbps in January last year.
Guilford discovered ADSL, which was the slowest broadband speed offered, was the only option she could access unless she paid hundreds of dollars monthly for wireless satellite coverage, she said.
It cost Guilford $90 per month for internet and phone and “half the time it is not usable. It’s dead money,” she said.
“It’s lost me work because clients try to ring me and can’t get me … I can’t promote (her business) if I can’t meet them in person. I can’t work.”
Poor internet affected the whole community and the Waimate township and limited economic development, she said.
“I don’t think there are many people in the district without internet issues.”
Chorus stakeholder communications manager Nathan Beaumont said Guilford could receive VDSL broadband, which was the fastest available broadband product for its copper network.
“There are a lot of households in Waimate where VDSL is available but for whatever reason these households haven’t upgraded to receive this service,” Beaumont said.
However, Guilford said Chorus did not offer VDSL as an option for her property when she spoke to them earlier in the year.
She contacted Chorus on Friday to see if her internet situation could change after hearing Beaumont’s comments. She hoped to hear from them early this week.
Registered Waimate charity, The Community Wireless Trust (CWT), has been working to provide wireless internet to the Waimate township including households, businesses and schools within a five kilometre radius of the Waimate silos.
CWT operations manager Matt Hampton said it would partly use funds raised through subscriptions to support growth in the network to improve rural accessibility.
– Stuff – http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/84326788/waimate-business-owner-says-poor-internet-has-cost-her-clients