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Satellite Broadband Helps Christchurch Businesses

Satellite Broadband Helps Christchurch Businesses Get Back On Their Feet

A telecommunications plan that offers an interim satellite alternative for broadband and internet phone access is helping Christchurch businesses get up and running in the wake of the quake.

Farmside, New Zealand’s leading satellite broadband provider, has launched a temporary internet and internet-phone package specifically to assist businesses get back on their feet; delivering essential business tools like email and voice/telephone services without the need for a phone line. The service is guaranteed to be operational within the space of three days.

For many Christchurch organisations, getting their business back on-line following last month’s devastating earthquake has been a frustrating process - particularly so, when access to the internet is vital to business operations.

Hairy Lemon, an on-line digital agency whose premises are currently off-limits in the CBD “red zone”, managed to find new space to accommodate their 30 staff in Hornby but struck a major stumbling block with securing a broadband connection. “We’d made good progress with setting up the office infrastructure,” says co-founder Graham Dockrill, “but we faced a delay of another two to three weeks with traditional telcos to install a broadband internet service suitable for our business needs. When the internet is the diesel that runs your business, the opportunity cost of being offline for that long is huge.”

Farmside’s interim satellite broadband plan had Hairy Lemon’s business back on-line in less than 72 hours. “We’ve very quickly gone from a barely adequate situation, with our people working remotely from home offices all over Christchurch, to being fully operational” says Dockrill. “It’s just fantastic to be back in business.”

Although Farmside’s Christchurch Business plan is being promoted as a temporary measure to help businesses resume operations while the traditional telecommunications infrastructure is under pressure, Chief Executive Richie Smith notes that it underlines the value of a satellite contingency plan for businesses that are reliant on broadband. “When a business depends on reliable, high speed internet to maintain service to customers, a back-up satellite plan makes a lot of sense.”

That’s a sentiment echoed by Christchurch Technology company, Information Leadership, which operates its business as a virtual workplace with staff located across the country. When the earthquake struck, the Christchurch headquarters lost power, phone and its vital internet link.

“The satellite intranet provided by Farmside at our management team’s new rural location, has meant no loss of service to staff or customers even though we’re now located a long way from fixed broadband,” says Grant Margison, a director of Information Leadership. “The reliable nature of the satellite internet means we can use tools like Skype to work with colleagues remaining in Christchurch as well as in Auckland, Wellington and Hamilton, helping to reduce our telecommunications costs and making it easier to stay connected.”


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