The Wrong Side of the Tracks

In today’s interconnected society, many of us are so dependent on the Internet that we wouldn’t know how to function without having ready access it. According to the ABS Survey of Household Internet Use (2012-2013), 83% of households have home Internet access and 81% of these connected households use the Internet daily.

Until recently, my household had very limited internet access. When I first moved into my grandparents house, almost four years ago, all I had to browse the Internet was a portable Optus hotspot, with very limited data. Shock horror. It wasn’t until last year that I had the sweet taste of unlimited wireless in my own home. To give you an idea of what this meant to me, I could actually watch Youtube video’s that exceeded three minutes.

having-slow-internet-sucks_o_1920039

My grandparents scaled it back recently to about 100gb/ month, but I am managing.

Living with my Grandparents, I am the only person in my house under 70. I am the biggest user of the Internet in our household. I have my iPhone, iPad, and laptop constantly connected to the Internet. The only other person who uses the Internet on an ongoing basis is my Granddad. For the purpose of this exercise, I asked him what he thought about our internet access, and whether he was happy with it. Granddad’s primary use of the Internet consists of watching funny video clips on Facebook and downloading games, such as Minion Rush. However, even he had noticed our Internet’s tendency to lag. He is disappointed that he pays for ‘quality’ Telstra internet, and yet his videos keep buffering.

Bufferin

After talking about the NBN in class earlier this week, I have checked whether our household is eligible. Our area is being currently being prepared for the NBN network.

Because I spend a significant portion of my time at my boyfriend’s house, I also checked whether his household is eligible for the NBN. The rollout of the NBN has not yet started in his area.

So how do the powers-that-be decided who gets access to the sweet freedom of the NBN? Why is it that neighbouring suburbs have different access to the NBN? Why is it that one side of the road has access, but the other side does not?

Besides lagging videos, what impact does slow or limited Internet access mean for Australians?

According to the ABS survey (2012-2013), 72% of Australians use their home internet to pay bills or bank online; 66% use their Internet for social networking; 58% use their Internet to listen to music or to watch videos online; and 58% use their home Internet to access government services. Australian’s are becoming increasingly dependent on their access to fast, reliable to home Internet. So what does this mean for those who do not have this access? Issues that are raised by the uneven rollout of the NBN include higher costs, fewer opportunities, higher rates of unemployment and underemployment, and poverty, health & educational disadvantages (Bowles 2015).

When so many Australians are dependent on reliable Internet, why are only   selected suburbs, streets, or even house numbers given access when others are not? Feel free to leave me a comment down below on how you feel about the new NBN, and whether you have access to it, or will in the near future.

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References:

Bowles, K 2015 BCM240 Lecture 4 Locating the Networked Home: 2015 Lecture Slides 17th August 2015, UOW, Semester 1, 2015.

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