A MAJOR Lake Macquarie employer is being forced to cut ties with the city because slow and unreliable internet is hampering its growth.
Auscoal Super, based in Warners Bay, will relocate to a new site on Parry Street in Newcastle at the end of 2015, taking with it the 150 staff it currently employs on the lake.
Chief executive Bruce Watson said he was ‘‘disappointed’’ to be making the move, but the decision to switch from the 2282 to 2300 after more than 10 years had been taken out of the company’s hands because of unreliable and slow internet speed.
‘‘The main, and really the only reason we’re moving, is that we are enhancing the technological aspects of what we do and we require a faster .. and more reliable internet capability,’’ he said.
‘‘Our staff love it here, it’s a great area [and] a great place to work so it’s very disappointing, but at the end of the day we’ve to make sure we’re in the best position to service our customers.’’
The area has a lack of redundancy – or fall back – once connection is lost, and Mr Watson estimated speeds in Warners Bay were ‘‘one tenth’’ of those in Newcastle, and were ‘‘a great deal more expensive’’ to operate.
The move comes after NBN Co announced only last week that parts of the area would begin to see high-speed broadband rolling out in the middle of next year.
Lake Macquarie mayor Jodie Harrison called it a ‘‘vital piece of infrastructure for Lake Macquarie’’ and welcomed the ‘‘economic and social benefits the technology will deliver’’.
Mr Watson said while that was a ‘‘great thing’’ for Lake Macquarie’’, he lamented a lack of certainty in the rollout schedule of the NBN.
‘‘That certainty would have been a huge help to us,’’ he said.
‘‘We did look into the announcement once it was made, but even then we haven’t seen firm dates or commitments.’’
Lake Macquarie North Ward independent councillor Barry Johnston said it was sad to see the business leave.
However, he was glad it was staying in the lower Hunter, he said.