Elliston switches on upgraded telecommunications

Elliston recently switched on its telecommunication upgrades, helping to bring the town into the 2018 technological world.

The joint $4-million project saw 48 kilometres of new optic fibre laid to improve internet speeds and a new radio transmission system to allow residents to connect to the 4G network.

Before the upgrades local businesses would struggle with eftpos machines, residents could not utilise social media or online banking and local schools had to place limitations on internet usage in classes.

Elliston council chief executive officer Phil Cameron said before the upgrades he came into work every morning and had to wait about 10 minutes before his emails would completely load. 

“It brings the town into the modern era, before it felt like we were living in a third world country with no technology,” he said.

“Before the upgrade, one of the hotels couldn’t pay their workers so they sent someone down to Port Lincoln to process the pay.”

The Elliston District Council contributed $80,000 to the project and Telstra spent $2.5 million on the upgrades.

Mr Cameron said before the upgrade the influx of people during summer and school holidays would slow the network down even further.

Telstra SA regional general manager Mark Bolton said the old system was built decades ago and was only designed for voice services.

“The transmission upgrade was absolutely critical, it wasn’t capable of delivering services that customers need today,” he said.

“The feedback from people has been pretty good so far. The speed test results around town were unthought-of prior to the upgrade.”

Mr Bolton said the upgrade brought Elliston on par with other major cities’ telecommunication speeds around the country.

The federal government contributed $1.3 million under the Better Regions Fund.

Member for Grey Rowan Ramsay said Elliston’s telecommunications were a problem that had to be fixed.

“It was reaching a point in Elliston where something had to be done,” he said.

“I can’t say it will grow the economy, but if it wasn’t done it would shrink the economy and turn tourists away.”