Locating the Networked Home: Quality Qualms.

I come from a very large family, at one point there were seven of us living in the same household, that’s a lot of phones, laptops and other internet connected devices. The grand scale of these technologies meant that the internet was a very slow road for us, the traffic was always backed up and we’d all very often experience some kind of ‘road rage’. 

Living on my own means more freedom from the road blocks and constant stop signs, although the remaining members of my family living in the same household (there are four) still often experience these difficulties. Especially now, in the era of iPads, iPhones, iPods, tablets and the declining age of internet users. 
Returning to my former-home, I find the 18-year-old in a tantrum over the lagging playstation, cries of frustration and loud profanities travel down the hallway to the lounge-room, as I prepare to interview them about the disadvantages of not living in an NBN connected home (although, I somehow find myself already knowing some of the answers to these questions). 

“We’re not connected to the NBN” my mother, Maryanne Spresser confirms, rolling her eyes at the background noise. 
The connectivity of the NBN in the Shoalhaven was considered a high priority in the pre-election hype of 2012, and in-fact the high-speed fibre optic cables that enables this connectivity were already underway in 2013 for installation in the main streets of Nowra, NSW, but were halted in March due to the change of government. These plans were reinstated in January of this year (2014), but have again halted due to unknown reasons, and with no clear indication of recommencement. 

The timing of these installations is shown as follows on the Shoalhaven City Council Website:

 Immediate – Should occur the 2012 calendar year
 Short-term – Should occur in the 2011/2012 – 2012/2013 period
 Medium-term – Should occur in the 2013/2014-2014/2015 period
 As required – Should occur wherever required according to need
 Ongoing – Is a continual process that is not time bound

“We hope to achieve faster internet speeds, better coverage (especially in regards to the weather lately) reliability with connectivity and also expect to be able to connect with more devices so we have more sharing capabilities.” says Maryanne.

The children of the household have different ideas, with one suggesting better public access to WiFi (because McDonalds just doesn’t cut it) and another complaining about how the internet access they have now limits him to slow, “laggy” gaming. 
“I’d like to be able to game without dropping out every 5 minutes, or freezing into buildings” he says.
“It gets really frustrating when you’re in the middle of a game and all of a sudden the connection stops and you have to start all over again, I hate losing all of my progress”.

The household is connected to Telstra Broadband wireless access, which provides them with 200 gigabytes of data for $60 a month. “This is never enough of course” says Maryanne, “The kids are all on their devices 24/7, so it eats into the data usage pretty quickly”.

In five years, Maryanne expects that Australians will still be doing very much the same as they are now; “Online shopping, paying their bills, watching free movies and listening to free music, downloading a lot quicker”. 
Although, there are some differences she thinks will stand out; “I think we’ll have easier and faster access to people in other countries, therefore easier collaboration with professionals in their fields e.g; medicine. It’ll also affect my experience of being at home, because it’ll make it easier to do everything as it will be quicker, so there’ll be a lot less time wasted”.

All members of the household have now wandered in and listening to the responses, nod their heads in agreement.
Not wanting me to forget the importance of video games, Dylan Spresser, the second eldest member of the household (18) speaks up and adds “I just want to add that the quality of online video games and gaming in general will improve a lot more, less lagging and also faster downloads”. 
The general agreement of these statements suggest that everybody in this household would like access to the NBN in the near future, with the mention of the possibility of not receiving it short-term, there were angry murmurs and “not bloody likely’s” announced aloud. 

“Our home internet access is limited and with bad weather it drops out, you could be in the middle of an important conference call, or an online video chat with a distant relative and you lose the connection, it’s frustrating” says Maryanne.
“It’s not fair if everybody else gets faster internet and we’re left to feed off the left-overs of the past” she says. 

The NBN does not look like it is in the near future for this family, with constant broken promises and the starting and stopping of progress, all the government has managed to do in this family’s opinion is “raise false hope”. 

References

myNBN Rollout Tracker 2014, myNBN | 2NWR FSA (Nowra-Bomaderry), viewed 24 August 2014, <http://www.mynbn.info/fsa/2NWR&gt;

Shoalhaven City Council 2014, viewed 24 August 2014, <https://www.shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au/My-Property/National-Broadband-Network?portalid=3?portalid=3&gt;

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Television Interview.

“I can still picture it in my head, even after all of this time” Says 44 year old mother of five, Maryanne Spresser.
“Our television set was in the corner of the lounge-room against the wall, I remember I used to sit on the floor and sometimes a beanbag, because I was the youngest it meant that I wasn’t allowed on the lounge, my older siblings always got priority.”

Reminiscing about her favourite shows as a child, Maryanne talks about how her absolute favourite was ‘Little house on the prairie’.
“Gilligans Island, Hogans Heroes and saturday morning cartoons, those were really the extent of my TV education” She laughs.
“I remember watching Looney Tunes on ABC (we only had two channels, including WIN), watching Road Runner, Porky Pig and Archie and Veronica.”
Ms Spresser talks about how different television programs are now compared to when she was young – 
“The quality of cartoons has changed so dramatically, I mean we had violence back then, but we never considered them violent (If that makes sense).”

“Our Television sets were so different”, She reflects as she glances at her modern LCD.
“We had ours in a big wooden box, with large round knobs on the outside, these of course were the dials because there were no remotes back then (laughs), there was also a large metal aerial on top of the set, nothing like you’d see today.”

Watching her children stare fixedly at the current TV in her own lounge-room, Ms Spresser describes how hard it is to explain how much things have changed.
“I mean look at children now, they spend hours in front of the Television, sometimes I honestly think I’d prefer how it was back then to now. We weren’t really allowed to watch it much like today, we were always outside running around and being active.”

When asked about the differences that stood out the most, Ms Spresser took a moment to think and responded with;
“I’d say the biggest change is obviously the diversity in channels, there are so many more choices now, and even the colour. For the first few years of my life we never had a colour Television, but I remember later we were the first ones in our neighbourhood to get one, everybody was jealous”.

“It’s so strange reflecting back on it now because TV was so much more innocent back then you know? More family oriented. The Quality was awful compared to now, but I think out shows were so much better. I don’t know, it’s a two way thought process really, the shows nowadays such so much”.