Will Doctor Who DVD Recon Animator Planet 55 Leave Australia?

Australian studio Planet 55, who produced both the Reign of Terror and The Tenth Planet animated episodes, may have to move to the UK to continue working on Doctor Who.

The studio, who were hired by the BBC to animate at least three serials, with more planned in the future, are facing the pragmatic decision to move from their Central Coast studio to the UK, due to a lack of bandwidth.

As reported in ZDNet, The studio’s head Austen Atkinson told the Senate Select Committee for the National Broadband Network (NBN) yesterday that in the process of animation, the organisation needs to move about 30 gigabytes of data per day.

He went on to say that after Telstra was slow to repair ADSL lines in his area, the company has installed fibre to its premises and is paying AU$1,600 per month for a 50Mbps down, 50Mbps up link – with the all-important download speed severally lacking.

I do not care about the technology I just want the most pragmatic approach. It turns out that fibre is the most pragmatic approach until they invent something else. Because we have 50 people using 50 meg up and down you can imagine that that averages out at one megabyte. It is, quite frankly, pathetic.

Atkinson added that the company were forced to mail out its work, sending between one and three hard drives back to the UK per day, at a cost of between AU$300 and AU$500 per package.

Due to the cost of using these ‘posts’ to other countries the company are now considering relocating to Cardiff – with the practical issues putting a strain on mining the massive talent resources in Australia.

We have hit a bottleneck — not of talent. I found a massive resource of talent and trained them all myself, but if we cannot get our work out daily and communicate with our partners in LA or our partners in Dublin or our partners in Spain or wherever they are, what are we supposed to do? It is not practical.

He said that support for entrepreneurs was also lacking in Australia, and employment costs were also high compared to the United Kingdom, and the United States.

But help is at hand, in the form of well-known Doctor Who fan, former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy jokingly offering to do the construction work himself.

I have not been able to crack a gig as an extra on Doctor Who. Can you help? It is my final life ambition—can you help…I will personally dig it [the broadband cable] for you for that.

(With thanks to Joe)


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