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Regional and remote customers of Internet Service Provider (ISP) Wi-Sky are benefitting from a huge backhaul upgrade which is now delivering more than 30 times the previous capacity.

Richmond grazier, William Harrington, founded Wi-Sky on his property in 2016 and the ISP now services 13 towns and multiple properties across the north-west.

Mr Harrington said continued growth was putting pressure on the network until QCN came on board in January and provided them with substantially more backhaul capacity.

“That was a big deal for us,” said Mr Harrington.

“Previously we were trying to run our business on 300Mb and that was becoming a problem.

“We worked with QCN and we were able to go from 300Mb to 10,000Mb (10Gb). That has been transformative for us. Now our customers are reaping the benefit.”

That includes Wi-Sky customer, Nikko Lord, who lives on a cattle station 110km north-west of Richmond with his wife Jade and their three young children.

Thirty years ago, he had to use a VHF radio to gain an education via the School of the Air.

Today, he’s thankful Distance Education is now accessed through the internet.

“My two boys are both hearing impaired,” he said.

“So, if the internet was not at a great standard, we would be wasting our time to try and get them to communicate over a crackly old internet connection.”

William Harrington’s son also learns via Distance Education from the family’s property 50km north of Richmond.

He said many people who live remotely in the north-west were frustrated by poor connectivity.

“It was a need. We were trying to run a business on the station and internet connectivity was a big problem for us,” he said.

“We tried various options; 3G, satellite, et cetera and it got to the point where we built our own microwave links into Richmond to get an ADSL connection.

“As soon as we built that, the neighbours rang up and said, ‘Would we be able to hook in?’

“All of a sudden Wi-Sky was born.”

Nikko Lord was one of Wi-Sky’s first customers and he said the benefits quickly became apparent to him, his wife, who runs an online yoga business and their 12 staff.

“One of the biggest stresses we had was managing how much data they could use,” he said.

“Once Will (Wi-Sky) came along and we had unlimited (data), it took away that area of having to restrict what they could and couldn’t do. For a lot of people, it has opened the floodgates to be able to communicate with people off the station.

“There’s a lot of people who love being in isolated areas, but they still all have a connection or loved ones elsewhere and I think it’s been able to help fill that void.”

Mr Harrington recently showcased his improved Wi-Sky network to the Queensland Minister for Energy and Clean Economy Jobs, Mick de Brenni, when he toured the region.

The business owner said his backhaul data costs were now equivalent to metropolitan providers, and his customers could be offered similar plans to people living in capital cities.

“It’s like going from a little hose to a fire hose, a really big one,” said Mr Harrington.

“We are no longer experiencing slowdowns during certain times of the day because we’ve got the capacity now.”

Nikko Lord said slowdowns and dropouts are no longer an issue for him or his sons’ online schooling.

“It has definitely gotten a lot better,” he said.

“That was quite tough if we had scheduled meetings, that was during Covid, where everything was done online, so there has been an improvement just recently.”

Mr Lord said improved connectivity has also made it easier to attract and retain staff.

“It has, without a doubt, made living remotely much simpler and much more attractive,” he said.

“I am a very social person and I Iove the bush, but there are elements that are boring.

“This has allowed me to fill that gap. You can download podcasts and even simple things like you can watch something on Netflix.”