Community Enterprise Queensland (CEQ) operates in Queensland’s most remote and difficult to reach regions, some of which are islands that are closer to the shoreline of Papua New Guinea than the Australian mainland. They needed a modern connectivity solution that would be reliable, fast, and secure, to continue providing essential services to the community and keep their organisation running without interruption.
Surrounded by vast ocean, the remote nature of Torres Strait Islands provides a spectacular place to live but counterbalanced with the tyranny of distance.
For the Zenadth Kes (Torres Strait Islanders), a not-for-profit organisation like Community Enterprise Queensland (CEQ) is the bridge that keeps them connected to the world, providing access to healthy food and water, essential services such as fuel, gas, ATM facilities, and enabling them to thrive.
In addition to the Torres Strait, CEQ provides essential goods and services to communities in the Northern Peninsula Area, Aboriginal remote communities, and Palm Island through its 28 retail stores.
CEQ’s business operations depend on connectivity for ordering stock for their supermarkets across the islands, buying fuel for operating boats and generators, processing transactions at point-of-sale, backing up store and transaction history, and in-store and remote CCTV monitoring.
CEQ’s retail stores are spread across the remotest part of Far North Queensland and the Torres Strait, surrounded by ocean and a complex reef system, making it difficult to install fibre infrastructure for connectivity. The region also experiences severe weather and natural disasters such as cyclones, damaging winds, rains, and fires.
CEQ lacked the high bandwidth connectivity it needs to operate its businesses. Like any organisation, it needed reliable, robust, and secure connectivity, capable of operating even in bad weather. Its existing service lacked the redundancy needed to continue providing business-grade connectivity during outages; instead, it relied on mobile internet services as a back-up.
Vocus Satellite - Starlink, installed by Vocus channel partner Airbridge, helped CEQ overcome these challenges and equipped their operations team with a fast and reliable service, enabling real-time communication and data sharing with head office, suppliers, and key stakeholders.
Reliability is crucial in remote locations, as network disruptions can affect delivery of essential services to local communities. With Vocus Satellite - Starlink, CEQ can now access a wide range of cloud applications making use of higher bandwidth and faster response times that were previously impractical due to high latency and unreliable networks.
Vocus worked closely with its channel partner AirBridge, relying on its technical and installation expertise. AirBridge has a team of highly trained technicians and professional installers adept at customising the Vocus Satellite – Starlink solution to meet the geographic and weather conditions of the Torres Strait Islands.
“AirBridge started working with CEQ almost a decade ago. We’ve gone through many iterations of technology, from boosting mobile signals to point-to-point networks, to ensure CEQ were always at the forefront of technology,” said Douglas Stephens, Managing Director, AirBridge.
“We used our experience of working in the regions to customise the install of the Vocus Satellite – Starlink solution to accommodate the environmental variables in the area – high winds, salty air and cyclones. We used 316 stainless steel fasteners and anaconda cable protection to ensure the installation would stand the test of time,” Stephens explained.
The improved connectivity experience has opened doors to more opportunities for CEQ to better support and serve remote communities.
“Connectivity is the lifeblood for keeping our communities alive, relevant and strong, and enables us to have equal opportunities in this rapidly changing world. Access to fresh food, reliability of services and connectivity to keep the CEQ stores running is of vital and utmost importance to keep our community healthy and thriving.”
Masig Island resident
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