Australian carrier Uecomm has signed an agreement with Ergon Energy to buy capacity that would extend high-speed fibre internet services up the eastern coast of Queensland.
Brendan Park, products and marketing director at Uecomm, said a heads of agreement had been signed with Nexium Telecommunications – Ergon Energy's wholesale telecommunications arm.
The deal would open opportunities for channel partners to on-sell high-speed internet to businesses and government agencies previously starved for bandwidth, he said.
'Fifty percent of all businesses in Queensland are located out of Brisbane, so there will be a huge market for this,' Park said.
'Revenue is ... commercial-in-confidence ... but it's significant. Some of our existing customers, on public record, include Queensland Health and Queensland universities and they all have requirements in these other towns.'
He said Uecomm sold direct but also worked nationally through channel partners such as Hitachi Data Systems, NetStar Networks, Ipex, HP and IBM. The company was in negotiations around signing more channel deals in 2004. 'We are really ramping up the focus on channels for next year,' he said.
Park said Uecomm had been providing fibre internet to Brisbane metropolitan areas and the Gold Coast but this deal would bring data transfer rates 10 to 1000 times faster than services presently available to regional Queensland towns along the coast north of Brisbane.
'We tend to sell mainly to major corporations and government customers ... but we can go right down to SMBs if they have large bandwidth requirements,' he said.
Park said the company hadn't done much before with Ergon Energy but that energy distributor's move into carrier business would help Uecomm target areas previously poorly served by telecommunications.
'Customers will be able to buy 10MB to 100MB connections,' Park said. 'They had been buying low-speed services.' Uecomm and Ergon would negotiate a formal deal in coming months.
Terry Effeney, acting CEO for Ergon Energy, said in a statement that Uecomm would be accessing spare Ergon Energy capacity and could offer 'more attractive prices' to customers as a result.
Paul Lucas, Queensland's energy minister, said government-owned Ergon Energy was rolling out some 300 kilometres of fibre optic cable to serve its own requirements in rings around nine regional Queensland cities and towns.