Big business call by Gosnells group
Mike Devereux, a local businessman and Gosnells city councillor, said he and a number of partners had registered a company called Southeast Metro Community Telco (SMCT). The company will use a model devised by Community Telco Australia (CTA), a subsidiary of Victoria’s Bendigo Bank, which has added a telecommunications services business to its banking operations.
To get the project off the ground, SMCT is seeking an initial pledge of $30,000 in cash, be it from one donor or many businesses or individuals. This will allow the project’s leaders to purchase necessary software from the Bendigo Bank and use the bank’s experience in this field to guide the local project’s development.
The bank will also be given the option to buy a 10 per cent stake in the company.
In assuming this first stage is successful, Mr Devereux said the next task would be to launch a “massive mailout” to local businesses to assess their interest in the project.
He said that, while he hoped the project would go beyond the first stage, seed investors would effectively be donors – they would have to be prepared to lose the money if the project failed. If it succeeded, they would receive a special deal if and when the venture became profitable.
Although Mr Devereux is a councillor, the Gosnells Council has not officially decided to support the telco project. He said the proponents had not asked for this because they wanted to create a true self-determining community organisation.
“The idea is basically to be an on-seller with an eye to customers getting a better service, but at the same time also look at upgrading dramatically the communications and data use in that area,” Mr Devereux.
“Our area is pretty bad for economics, and we know that if we had proper communications we could attract home businesses and many others.”
If the proponents raise the initial $30,000 in the near future it is possible the new telco could be operating by October or November this year, although any delays in the capital raising could postpone its launch until about Easter 2003.
In its first 12 months of operating, SMTC is expected to draw in about $3.5 million in revenue.