Friday, December 12, 2008

What Brisbane Needs, Part One

Brisbane needs a few things. But one thing it REALLY needs is better telecommunications infrastructure. To be honest, the whole of Australia does, but I live in Brisbane so I'll focus on this city.

It is the year 2008, very soon to be 2009. Across the globe, more and more people are getting technology savvy, and are being creative online with things like YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, blogging et al. But in Brisbane, we still have expensive, limited internet services. Wireless is considered a luxury rather than being offered commonplace.

I spent three months last year in the US, and wireless internet was offered everywhere. Shopping centres, businesses, restaurants and cafes, hotels and more offer wireless for free or with a purchase. You can sit in a Panera bakery, or Starbucks and actually work on your laptop with high speed wireless connection provided by the cafe/restaurant while you enjoy a cup of coffee or a meal. Lots of people actually work from cafes and restaurants rather than their desks. Public libraries all offer wireless for free too.

While we do have some wireless hotspots around, for example some public libraries, the occasional hotel or restaurant, it's actually few and far between in Brisbane.

Internet access is still a lot slower here than in Europe and the US, and it's also a whole lot more expensive. Telecommunications will have you believe it's not possible for them to drop the prices, but the truth is that if they can do it in the consumer madness of the US, why can't they do it here?

Partly because in many areas they still have antiquated technology. Old telecommunications cabling instead of fibre optic. The whole country needs to have some serious money spent on it by the Government to have a solid, reliable and efficient telecommunications infrastructure in this country.

I do believe we are at the tipping point though, because so much technology is being purchased by the average Australian now. Mobile phones have internet access as a matter of course now, and of course we all have mobile phones. People are buying laptops at a much higher rate than ever before. The eePC or "netbook" is starting to take off and become cheap enough for people to buy. And more and more people are wanting to carry their technology with them to access it through the day.

Do you have dreams for being able to use your technology in places other than your home? Do you feel that your internet service is either too slow or too expensive? What do you think should be done to provide a better telecommunications network in Brisbane/Australia?


Lee said...

The council ran a trial of free wireless broadband in the CBD but then they pulled it because they discovered some people visited porn sites.

I kind of see their point but I think it is terrible and wrong that they no longer offer that.

So many people could be seen in the mall eating lunch and using their laptops and generally using the space productively.

Such a shame.

Kath aka Sleepydumpling said...

I think that will change in the not too distant future. The corporate world is changing it's attitudes towards the online culture/technology thing. Here's hoping it happens REAL soon.