Devine Art Online’s Katrina Elliott wants the National Broadband Network rolled out quickly.
Devine Art Online’s Katrina Elliott wants the National Broadband Network rolled out quickly. Katrina Elliott

NBN wait ‘bad business'

THE information superhighway is on its way to Gladstone, as long as you don’t mind waiting ten years. That is how long the region will probably have to wait for the National Broadband Network (NBN) to be rolled out here.

Overwhelmingly, business people in Gladstone hold the view that they stand to gain immensely from the NBN.

Katrina Elliott runs an online artwork retailer, Devine Art Online, and she can’t wait for the NBN to become a reality. She said her potential customers needed high-speed internet to conveniently browse her website and view the artwork she was selling.

“There are people out here (in the Gladstone region) who are still on dial-up,” she said.

“Once you get a lot of artwork on the website, people need fast internet to open those pages.

“And it’s not just that. It also makes a difference when I am uploading images.”

Ms Elliott’s message was clear: the faster the broadband speeds on offer in the region the better she can conduct her business.

Underlining how anxious businesses are to jump on board the online rollercoaster, Karen Sweeny, of the GAPDL, said more than 320 businesses in the region had participated in the organisation’s Project Grow, which provides courses and advice for businesses looking to build their online presence. Ms Sweeny said there were a growing number of small businesses in Gladstone that were selling their products online.

Dr Paul Campbell, from the ITC Industrial Workshop Group, said regional Australian communities could gain more from the NBN than their city counterparts.

“(The NBN) helps retailers in Gladstone and other regional areas, because you have the same platform as the companies in the cities,” Dr Campbell said.

“It creates equity of access.”

The prospect of the region’s talented entrepreneurs, who sell everything from clothing to computer parts, waiting ten years for the NBN worries Ms Elliott.

“I just think that’s a long time to wait considering how fast the technology is moving,” she said.