At the time, Matthew Harrison and his associates loved online games, except that dial-up internet didn’t cut mustard. So, using fireworks from the roof (to see the line of sight) and a little “know-how”, Harrison succeeded in connecting everyone in his inner circle wirelessly for a better gaming experience. Did. Then the neighbor came to knock.
But they didn’t come to complain, they actually asked him to connect them too. Around 2005, there were no wireless internet providers in the rural areas of Taranaki. The only option was copper or satellite. These were expensive and not always reliable.
So, from there, what started as a hobby for former computer engineers and workers at power line companies began snowballing. And in 2008, after a push from another local business owner and investor, Harrison quit his day-to-day work and first jumped into the business full-time.
Originally known as Primo Wireless, it has become even more diversified with significant growth over the last five years. Therefore, the name was simply changed to “”.Primo‘. Harrison currently has a team of 24 people, and sometimes he still can’t believe how far he has come.
“I dreamed of driving as usual and seeing the antennas of people’s homes. Now I can’t go down the Taranaki country road without seeing it next to the Skydish. increase.”
And Harrison found his most loyal customer in the backstreets of Taranaki. The big guys are “forgotten” when it comes to the internet, but they are the ones who needed the internet the most, not only to stay connected with friends and family, but also to run local businesses.
“Especially nowadays, there are a lot of people using the internet. At first, I remember they thought it was great to be able to check the weather at any time of the day, but of course today, much of agriculture is technology. And related to the connection.
“Agriculture is a big company and if many systems are automated, we need to be able to rely on the fast, secure and reliable wireless internet. What we are doing is giving people” Netflix “. Not only does it give you the ability to watch, it actually contributes to the economic value of Taranaki. “
As Primo is a well-established business, it has also attracted the attention of some very large companies in the region. From helping maintain connectivity in the oil and gas industry to setting up fairly high-end gear, Harrison says being local is essential to their success.
“Because we are here, we can hear what they want to achieve and get there with them.
“We also invested a lot in infrastructure and built a tower right around the mountain to create full coverage. It took us about 15 years to get there, but now it’s very fulfilling. We can provide services that domestic players cannot. “
We have also expanded our service offerings by providing services to businesses and homes nationwide using fiber / DSL broadband networks throughout New Zealand. This includes the latest UltraFast fibers. While Taranaki is the beginning of everything, Harrison knows that the value of Primo lies in the possession and operation of Kiwi. This is something that all New Zealanders can benefit from.
“We are now a full-fledged telecommunications company. About a quarter of our customers use cable TV and can take care of them anywhere in New Zealand. The help desk is in Kiwi. Being customer-only, it benefits everyone in doing things right. “
But the journey to run a successful business was not without a fair share of potholes along the way. Initially, the financial aspects of things were always very stressful and care was taken in managing cash flow. Harrison admits that he has tried some things that didn’t work. He also struggled to get proper support from the bank. They couldn’t understand that the assets of the business were really his customers, not the equipment or technology.
But today, with about 4,500 customers across the Taranaki region, banks are very pleased with that number. And Harrison is also very happy with his customers. He supports his community in more ways you can count with both hands.
“If the Taranaki people weren’t behind us, we wouldn’t be in place today, so giving back is a big part of what Primo does. Including the wifi hotspots in the provincial halls. Over 100 sports and non-profit organizations offer free services to sponsor the harbor penguin cameras so that people can see eggs and chicks during nesting hours.
“It costs more than $ 10,000 a month, and I’m happy to do that. After all, hospice can run charity shops and care facilities at no additional cost, and hospitals have patients. It means that you can be able to stay connected with your family. “
For the confessed “dropping out of high school,” things don’t seem to be that bad. But Harrison says there’s still a lot to be achieved with a focus on helping Taranaki’s business grow.
And whether it helps to monitor the 8,000 pest traps in the local council so that you don’t have to walk in line manually, and whether it helps to set up water tank sensors to monitor levels. Regardless, Harrison always reaches out to work. It’s a person like him.
A story created in partnership with venture Taranaki.
Innovation nation A series celebrating the story of innovation and entrepreneurship across New Zealand.
Keep Taranaki Connected to Primo Broadband and Wireless Internet – NZ Entrepreneur Magazine
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