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Punters don’t know any better and that is just the way PM Turnbull likes it

Punters don’t know any better and that is just the way PM Turnbull likes it

Published : 14 January 2016 Author : Noely Neate Comments :

Below is the title I wanted to put on this piece, but know that as it relates to NBN, Broadband and IT in general, too many people who really need to read this, would not have automatically ignored it ;( 

Turnbull’s NBN: Agile, Innovative, Nimble... Not bloody likely!

Nothing in this nation frustrates me more than the lack of interest people have in the NBN. From the backdoor neighbour to the Press Gallery, as soon as it is mentioned there is a concerted eye glaze. I don’t know whether it is due to too many giving it a big swerve over the years as being too technical? Hell, I get confused sometimes and I work in IT. Whatever the reason, it just never really figures as something politically, socially or economically important in this nation, when it fact, it is one of the most import nation building infrastructure projects we will ever have.

Now I know I smacked Malcolm Turnbull in my title, but both parties have buggered this up. Worse, they have been able to get away with it, just because the average punter is ignorant of the ramifications of not doing this right. We are already paying for the lack of foresight in ensuring we could actually be part of a digital economy, problem is, the average person is not aware, or has very low expectations, usually thinking it is a one-off situation or only relevant to themselves.

Mark Pesce wrote a very good piece in the register today that raised how the NBN is a real life issue, “A granny and a marriage celebrant show Turnbull's 4ked the NBN”, now even though he did get a tad techy there, Mark is one of the few tech types who can actually speak ‘English’ as well, and his tale of how the NBN letting us down results in a Granny not seeing the video of a wedding is a good real life style type of scenario.

Problem is out in the real world...
A Celebrant would most likely just accept they can’t improve their business with video streaming as well “That is just the way it is in the area I’m in” or something else just as silly.
Granny on her end is disappointed she missed the wedding but well, she probably can’t afford the type of package needed to be able to see video anyhow. Plus, of course, she doesn’t want to bother the grandson to double check on that, he does enough for her already.

Similar scenario at my friends salon. Her phone, internet, eftpos etc all goes through her phone line, as many small businesses do. When it rains heavily she loses the line. She can divert the phone to her mobile (at a cost of course), she waits until she gets home to check email (hoping nothing important is waiting), but worst of all, has to ask clients who don’t have cash on them if they would mind popping down to the ATM in the main street as the only option for her to get paid. Now, in a tourist area, that does not go down very well.

This is where the standard IT bamboozling with bullshit really kicks in resulting in all of these responses at various stages.

  1. Her landlord says it is not his problem, it is Telstra’s.
  2. Telstra, by the time they actually look at line, say there is not a problem (as obviously days later the line has dried out and there isn’t)
  3. Line is landlords issue, all is fine at the point to the building
  4. There is no problem with the line.
  5. The line & building is very old, hey, we have a great offer on mobile wifi – it will just cost you a mint monthly...
  6. You might actually have a problem with your bank if the eftpos is not working.

Note: Luckily she is with Telstra, or you would be adding “Oh well, sorry we at [insert provider name] can’t see a problem with your account, Telstra actually owns the lines, so we will put a ticket in, hopefully we will have an answer for you within 7 days... rinse, repeat :(
I’m sure there are more, the excuses are many & varied, point is, my friend may be a wonderfully experienced beautician who has run a successful small business for two decades, but will become undone EVERY SINGLE TIME communications or IT are uttered.  Her attitude ends up being:

“Oh well, that is just the way it is, nothing I can do about it”

Telstra, Politicians, Landlords etc all wring their hands evilly in glee, knowing yet another punter got bamboozled with bullshit and will leave them alone, with no expectation of an improvement in the near future.

This type of scenario happens daily all around the nation. Low expectations and confusion. Feel free to add to the below list of typical responses that keep the nations expectation of a decent “National Broadband” under the radar:

  •  Oh the man at ... said this is the best speed we can get for under $50 per month?
  •  Oh I thought it was only slow in our house because we have too many kids on the internet?
  • Funny, now that you mention it, takes me ages to email my husband’s invoices at night, but I think we have an old computer...
  •  Oh I probably don’t have the settings on the laptop right, grandson said the computer would slow down if I didn’t do something, but I don’t remember what it was?

All of the above, plus more, are excuses people are either told or tell themselves as to why their internet is extremely slow or broken. In fact, it is usually the state of the system delivering their internet access to them is what is slow or broken.

Imagine if the road to your home, in a capital city mind you, was full of potholes, sometimes in such disrepair it actually stopped your car going further until someone came along to fill in those holes. No way in hell would anyone in the street cop it. They would all be whining to Council to get the bloody road fixed, quick smart!

For many in this nation, our internet access is in exactly the same state as the above, we just don’t know it, nor have the expectation that either the provider or Government better get off their butts quick smart and fix it!

Until we find a middle ground between the Press Gallery totally ignoring the NBN and ‘experts’ totally confusing the Broadband issue by being too technical, the Government will get away with wasting our money and not giving us anything, whilst we slowly slide backwards.

For those of you who think the NBN has nothing to do with you, think about these scenarios:

  • How will you feel in years to come when your investment property is not valued as highly as similar properties in the neighbourhood just because punters finally wised up to the fact that they need to rent/buy a property that had fast, stable internet access and sadly due to circumstances beyond your control, you got the Thunderbox version of the NBN instead of the Indoor Throne like the other homes - there goes the extra for your pension?
  • How will you feel watching your child wait in emergency at the rural hospital for the specialist in the closest capital city to look at the scans and advise the local doctors what to do? Waiting, waiting, waiting... Not because the specialist is not around, but because the scans have failed to send over the line a few times because the weather is really bad? I have been in this scenario and don’t wish it upon any parent, ever!
  • How will you feel watching your oldest child stress over their final assignment drafts they are trying to email their teacher, that has to be received by said teacher by that particular date or they will lose points on the assignment, but, gee, the net is playing silly buggers and email with attachment (ie the assignment) keeps stalling? It’s only your child’s future at stake?
  • Your second child has just turned two and you really want to get back into the workforce (and your mortgage needs it), of course jobs are scarce, so you decide, well, Government is offering initiatives to set up home-based business, I’ll do that. Just a bit of a bugger that you didn’t realise you would need decent internet speeds & bandwidth to even access those fancy Government sites telling you of incentives; communicating with your clients online; doing your BAS & tax, the list goes on... Of course when you hit up your provider for better access, they tell you that it will either cost you a squillion – which makes your home business untenable – or sorry lady, just bad luck you live in an area that hasn’t been upgraded, yet, and well, ummm sorry, we don’t have you on our future plan at the moment either, maybe in a few years we can help you?

There are many scenarios like the above, they are real life results of the NBN being decimated. Next time you hear someone say something along the lines of “Who cares about internet access, just so a few youngsters can stream movies”, tell them NO and give them a REAL life scenario to ponder.

Please don’t do the eye glaze next time you hear the words NBN or Broadband uttered...

Just because you may not understand the tech behind the internet does not mean you don’t need it? And believe me, you do need it and will need it even more in the future.

cheers,
Noely

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