The winners of the 2008 ACOMM Awards were announced last night at the Communications Alliance Annual Dinner, where CEO and founder of Internode, Simon Hackett, was awarded the top honour for individual achievement - the 2008 Telecommunications Ambassador award.
The Telecommunications Ambassador is awarded each year to an outstanding individual who has shown strong leadership and made a significant and visible contribution to the Australian communications industry.
In the submission nominating Hackett for the award, Internode praised its CEO for building a first-tier international broadband network.
"Significantly for the communications industry, Simon has maintained Internode at the forefront of innovation, playing a catalyst role through a range of initiatives that include:
- Deployment of an extensive WiFi hotspot network, now called CityLan, across the Adelaide CBD,
- Establishing the joint-venture cine-net national high speed network for Australian filmmakers in 2004,
- The launch of Australia's first commercial ADSL2+ broadband service in April 2005,
- Delivery of Internode Business Connect Private IP services as the 21st Century alternative to traditionally expensive Frame Relay services,
- The doubling of broadband upload speeds by the Australian-first launch of ADSL2+ Annex M protocol-based services in 2007,
- Deploying Australia's first region-wide WiMAX network on the Yorke Peninsula in late 2007.
Former federal communications minister Helen Coonan called Hackett an "eloquent ambassador" for the potential of the Australian communications sector.
Other winners included Unwired, winning the Industry Leadership - Innovation SME award; Herbert Geer Lawyers winning the Professional Services Excellence award; Alcatel-Lucent winning the Partnerships for Growth award; Telarus winning the Commitment to Customer Service - SME award; and Uecomm taking out the Commitment to Customer Service for a Large Company award.
Telstra also took out awards in two categories: the Environmental Responsibility and Industry Leadership - Innovation for a Large Company.
Communications Alliance CEO, Anne Hurley, said the awards reflected the way in which communications products and services had evolved in recent years.
"When you look through the list of finalists for tonight's awards it's instructive to note they mostly relate to products and services that reach deep into our daily lives," Hurley said.
"Once our industry awards were about exotic solutions for esoteric problems - hardware, software and services that delighted boffins but lived in the shadows deep within the networks. Now they are about devices and services that are in the hands - and often the ears - of most teenagers in the country."
A full listing of finalists and award winners can be found on the Communications Alliance Web site.