PROBLEM SOLVER: Luke Baker believes he can offer a better alternative to the internet providers currently serving Bargara.
PROBLEM SOLVER: Luke Baker believes he can offer a better alternative to the internet providers currently serving Bargara. Eliza Goetze

The man with a plan to fix Bargara's internet

"AS WE move further into the digital age, regional areas are getting left behind.”

Bargara local Luke Baker is frustrated with the quality of the area's internet, and he is far from alone.

Now, he is doing something about it.

Mr Baker's communications installation business LMB Industries has helped roll out the NBN and his work got him thinking.

"A lot of my clients, and myself, are frustrated with the service and connectivity we have here, which is poor,” Mr Baker said.

"The NBN is not really the answer; it's an upgrade of the technology, but it's the model we already have.

"The more I looked into it, I realised the only way to solve it was to do it myself.”

He has started up his own internet service provider, Open Cloud Broadband, and is gathering feedback from locals on social media, aiming to get up and running in the next six months.

He has been trying to entice more providers to the area to compete with "the main provider up here that is taking advantage of us”.

That provider would be Telstra, and the NewsMail has covered numerous complaints about the service across the region, including in Innes Park where one local resident was told he could not access an ADSL port at the local exchange until the NBN rollout in 2018.

"A lot of people in Bargara can't even get access to an ADSL port. There are no more spare ports at the exchange,” Mr Baker said.

"The rest of us lucky enough to gain access to a port are stuck with a network that is at capacity.”

In 2015 alone, Australians downloaded 33% more data than the previous year, Mr Baker said.

"It's known as the Netflix effect, you'll notice when you get home and around 6 or 7 o'clock and everyone sits down after dinner with a glass of wine, Netflix and chill - and if like me you run a business from home, you can't even send an email.”

Open Cloud Broadband will bypass the "deteriorating” copper wiring system and use wireless transmitters.

Mr Baker is promising lower contention ratios - which measure how much bandwidth each household can use - than big providers, meaning faster internet.

It will be more expensive, but consumers will get what they pay for, he said - including customer service.

"I live here in Bargara, I'll have my name on my shirt walking down the street; we won't be hiding.”

Now he just needs people to "put their money where their mouth is”.

"What I need now is support for the community to get it off the ground.”

For details visit www.facebook.com/opencloudbroadband.



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