I was just totally Clueless about the whole thing

Two weeks ago I interviewed my grandfather about his views on television, in particular its history. This week I had the pleasure of calling him back to question him on what his thoughts were about The National Broadband Network.

Now my knowledge about the NBN is very limited, and I had the thought that it was just of interest to my age group. But that was before I attended my lecture this week on the topic. And I have to say that in combination with my own interview and what has been discussed in class, the NBN is an issue that affects all Australians.

Luckily for me my grandfather has a broad knowledge of the NBN (it’s great having technical gurus for grandparents). Although where he lives is yet to have the NBN installed, other areas around him do. He thought that the areas close to him that have the NBN including Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach and Southport have the NBN because they are the hub of the Gold Coast, and thus the demand is higher for faster internet along with a greater population to take advantage of it.

My grandparents have WiFi in their house, along with a desktop computer that isn’t used as much as the iPad. They’re both very satisfied with their internet service provider and are happy at the speed which it runs. That’s a big issue for most people in relation to the internet, the speed at which they can download things. Australia’s internet is miles behind South Korea’s or Hong Kong’s internet speeds. But my grandfather said that wasn’t an issue for him, compared to say myself who firstly uses the internet for different things to him, and downloads.

So my understanding what the NBN would entail was starting to take shape. Firstly the basic definition I got of it was that it would allow for a faster and more reliable system of internet throughout the whole of Australia. While in the lecture we were presented with what was a delightfully ridlicious video of the “Australian NBN house of the future” type scenario. What was particularly entertaining was that the video had been originally on the NBN website, but then removed. I presume from ridicule. Anyway, the video showed several different sexist, lazy and unrealistic scenarios going on within this family. The only one which I thought could ever really be achievable in the long run was the father running his business from home. With what appeared to be several hundred smart computers in the house, that was the only one which I could picture actually happening as a result from the NBN. There was in another room of the house the typical student learning over Skype in a virtual classroom, which already happens. One example which I found to of been particularly odd was the grandmother giving herself a blood pressure test over the internet with her doctor assessing the results at his office. Now I understand that medical facilities are not always close, but this was shot in a suburban street. Which leads me to the most frustrating aspect of the promo for me. The mother was instructing the washing machine when to run (at the most economical time mind you) and then doing online shopping in a weird modern day suburban like Clueless virtual closet. She could have taken Nan to the doctors, just saying….

Despite all this techno-madness trying to be pushed at consumers, the NBN does seem incredibly amazing. If it is ever rolled out everywhere. Where it has been trailed in Australia there has been a mostly positive response. Especially in relation to people not having to commute to attend work, working from a home office may be the next big lifestyle trend in Australia. Which would reduce travel and overall boost the health of people not having to travel so far to an office each day.

The biggest point that I found to have been raised in relation to the NBN is how much will it cost? If it is being rolled out in streets, people are going to have to pay. That’s my final point my grandfather mentioned in our conversation. He would be willing to use the NBN, but it came down to the price of the service. If it was able to deliver what it says it will, then people will pay. If not well…

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The main issue I see so far with the NBN is how it has been presented. The one video we saw was of a white suburban family, not exactly the most accurate representation of Australia. Coming from the country where the NBN is not even being considered to be rolled out there yet, I feel that there needs to be a better understanding of what the whole of Australia needs. Not just where the majority of commuters want.

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