Politics and Technology

I woke up this morning, milked the cow and then sat down with a coffee and perused my Twitter feed. I came across this discussion between Adam Schwab and Stilgherrian, both commentators for Crickey.com.

I'm no technology or political or broadband expert, so I'm not going to get bogged down in the politics or minutiae of the arguement. But I'll take Schwab to task on a few things. He says that "In return, Australians will then need to spend upwards of $100 a month on a high-speed internet service that most don’t really want (for that price) and almost all don’t really need." My graphic designer that we use for work lives a stones throw, literally, from one of the major highways in Brisbane, Australia's third biggest city. She cannot get ADSL2+ or cable but relies on satellite broadband. It recently went down and she had to rely on a 3G modem. For two weeks. I had to post, by mail, all the images that i needed in our next mailout. Instead of talking by Skype, with the images on the screen that we could talk about and change, she was emailing me a low resolution image and we talked about it on the phone. And repeat and repeat and repeat. Is this good enough in 2010?

This is what we have now. I have three reps on the road working off 3G and it is far from reliable for data. I am trying to build a new application for our business for the iPad and after using technology like Skype and GoToMeeting i made the decision that they are just not robust enough to rely on, I employed a local developer.

In other countries where broadband is seen as an essential part of doing business they demand speeds that will outstrip the pace of the technology that is developing it. With devices like the iPhone and iPad and all the different devices of the Android marketplace becomes commonplace the demand on our internet has jumped markedly. Soon we will be expecting wireless everywhere we go, in the doctors and in cafes in train stations and anyone who has used 3G for business would laugh at you if you think that network can cope with mainstream internet as well.

Here is my main point, Telstra, Optus and the rest are there to make money. If they can do that without putting large amounts of money out there to build a new network they will. But if we want to develop as a nation economically we have to keep pace with the rest of the world, there are third world countries in Africa that have faster broadband speeds than we do. So isn't the government's responsibility to ensure we don't get left behind? Instead of talking to Liberal MPs and former Optus executives try talking to the people that rely on these technologies, today, tomorrow and into the future. Take the politics out of it and deliver us something. Now.