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Tuesday, 04 February 2014 13:35

Game developer says 24Mbps is not good enough Featured

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A Hobart-based game developer says ADSL2+ is too slow, 4G is too expensive, but (like baby bear's porridge) NBN FTTP is just right.

Hobart based game developer Secret Lab is the company behind the ABC's Foodi, Play School Play Time and Play School Art Maker apps for the iPad as well as games for iOS, Android, OS X and Windows.

One of the company's biggest problems was the need to send large graphics and audio files to its clients - between 3 and 30GB per day.

"Basically, we had the best ADSL2 connection you could get in Australia, maxing out at 23-24 Mbps down and 0.9 Mbps up, and it still wasn't good enough," said director Paris Buttfield-Addison (pictured, left).

"We couldn't upload anything at a reasonable speed. We had to send hard drives or USB flash drives, through the postal service, or we'd leave uploads running overnight in the faint hope that they'd successfully complete while we slept."

The company tried Telstra's 4G LTE service with upload speeds between 5 and 10Mbps, but the cost of around $50 for every 4GB was prohibitive.

So when NBN FTTP service became an option, Secret Lab chose a 100/40Mbps service from Internode.

The switchover was "absolutely painless" according to Mr Buttfield-Addison.

"Now we're saving something like 20 per cent of our time because the network now just works. We also don't have to spend money on Telstra 4G services, which in the worst months was up to $300.

"Until the NBN came along, it was crazy. We were saving all the uploads until we went home so we could send them overnight from there.

"NBN is one of the most transformative, impactful things that could have happened to us."

Internode's 100/40Mbps plans range from $104.95 a month for 30GB to $194.95 a month for 1000GB.

Other benefits cited by Mr Buttfield-Addison include improved productivity, the ability to handle larger products, better Skype performance, additional cost savings from no longer needing to locate servers in the US, and timely receipt of large files (eg hand-drawn animations) from suppliers.

"Best of all, we no longer have to consider leaving Tasmania – a beautiful place to live and work – solely because we couldn’t get the connectivity we needed to make our business more effective, sustainable, and better equipped to make new games and software," he added.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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