Five questions for Richard Broadbridge, Managing Director of Lightspeed PNG 


Lightspeed PNG is a fixed wireless and satellite internet provider in Papua New Guinea. The company grew during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Managing Director, Richard Broadbridge, talks to Business Advantage PNG about its recent growth.

Lightspeed PNG

Lightspeed’s Richard Broadbridge during the 2022 Papua New Guinea Investment Conference. Credit: : BAI/Stefan Daniljchenko

Business Advantage PNG (BAPNG): How long has the company been around and what is the scope of its activities?

Richard Broadbridge (RB): We started in PNG nine years ago [in 2013] as a broadcaster and video production company and then launched internet services in 2017. It is a licensed internet provider in PNG with both fixed wireless and VSAT services. We also buy wholesale fibre capacity from PNG DataCo and retail that across our fixed wireless infrastructure in NCD and Lae.

Across Port Moresby, we have a diverse customer base primarily comprising residential customers, SMEs and larger businesses. By coupling our high-quality internet services with 24/7 customer support, we ensure our clients have access to readily available assistance.

Although we are not the cheapest internet provider [in PNG], our attention to the finer details ensures our services are worth it.

BAPNG: Lightspeed PNG has partnered with broadband satellite operator Kacific. What does the partnership entail?

RB: Kacific is a wholesale internet provider. It owns a satellite [the Kacific1 geostationary satellite] that sits 37,000 km away from Earth. The partnership began prior to the pandemic, and I’m pleased to say that it has been really successful.

Most significantly, the partnership has allowed for the provision of services to rural communities in PNG, and a major reduction in internet pricing. Five years ago, we were buying satellite internet for US$1100 (about K3870) megabit per second. Today, we can sell 20 megabits per second down and five megabits per second up for 600 kina per month.

BAPNG: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your business?

RB: With the onset of the pandemic, the internet became the backbone of everything. If you are an internet business that failed to do well during COVID, then something must be wrong with your business model.

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Luckily, Lightspeed PNG did well. Through our ability to adapt to the changing environment, we were fortunate enough to avoid letting anyone go of staff or reducing their pay. Even during the pandemic, we looked after our people.

BAPNG: Now that things are going back to normal, what does Lightspeed continue to do to look after staff?

RB: We do a lot behind the scenes to empower our people and local staff. This primarily involves assistance in terms of education, training, accommodation, and transport. Another priority for us is supporting flexible working arrangements, so that employees have the option to work from home. And of course, we pay our staff well. It is important to us that we pay them above average and ensure they feel like the true owners of the business. By valuing our people, they value us in return. In five years, no one has ever resigned for being underpaid.

BAPNG: What is next for Lightspeed PNG?

RB: We hope to begin conducting business in new regions across the Pacific. However, there are certain challenges that we need to overcome first. The biggest adversities we are faced with involve acquiring skilled staff and waiting for the law-and-order situation to settle. Ideally, the coming years will see an improvement in education and a more efficient processing of visas within immigration. This will allow for both a more adequately prepared workforce and a greater flow of expats as highly skilled local staff.

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