Internet Dependent Households and the NBN

This week’s topic focuses around internet access and the National Broadband Network (NBN) which is being rolled out around Australia at the moment. For my blog this week I revisited Jane who two weeks ago had a discussion with me about her television space whist she was growing up. This week however we discussed her and her family’s internet usage. Jane lives with her husband Gerald, her daughter, Hannah, lives in Sydney and both her sons, Andrew and Tim, are living on campus accommodation at University. For the purpose of this discussion we included Jane, Gerald, Andrew and Tim because both the boys visit home regularly in University breaks.

Jane’s household has an internet modem situated in the study which enables a Wi-Fi signal to reach around the whole house. The modem also has a fixed Ethernet cable which runs directly to the main desktop computer located in the study. When asked about the data plan Gerald responded as he takes care of it. He has recently switched to a 500 gigabyte a month plan with Telstra as their Internet Service Provider (ISP).

In the household there are a range of different devices which all connect to the internet. IPads, iPhones, iPods, Laptops, PlayStation’s, Television’s and a digital Set Top Box. However whilst Jane and Gerald are home alone they only use the iPad, Set Top Box and Desktop.

“The iPad is probably our most preferred device however we only use it to check things like our emails, the newspapers, snow report, stock market, weather, Facebook, ABC iView and travel details”.

Whilst the iPad is the most used device connected to the ISP via a Wi-Fi connection if Jane or Gerald wish to do their online banking, reply to emails or do some work they always choose the desktop computer over the iPad. This type of internet activity common according to ABS (2014) with most people using their bandwidth to pay bills or bank online (72%); social network (66%); listen to music or watching videos or movies online (58%)

Their sole reason for using the desktop over the iPad is they believe that a desktop is easier to navigate and more secure. Out of their 500 GB of data for the month they on average only use 30% however when Andrew and Tim are home from University the usage doubled to 60% due to the increase in devices.

When asking Jane, Gerald and Tim about their internet speed I got mixed responses; Jane was happy with the internet speed it allowed her to complete any tasks online she required. Gerald and Tim however were not happy with the speed saying it was “ordinary”. The conversation quickly transitioned into the NBN network and whether or not they wanted it. ‘You tell us’ was the reply. Before university I worked for a company called Wagga Directional Drilling and for the better part of 7 months I spent my time installing NBN fibre optic cable.

nbn cable

(source: http://tinyurl.com/o5orkyc)

NBN is fibre optics cabling which is therefore faster than any ADSL or copper phone line cabling however the inlet into the majority of houses in Australia are still operating on existing copper phone lines meaning that the full potential of NBN is rarely fully experienced. Unless the house has a fibre optic inlet which connects directly all you get is slightly less shi**ty internet.

Despite this the current address of the family home is not able to receive NBN due to its “geographical location” however if you have a look at the map below if we lived two blocks either side we would be eligible to receive it.

nbn close

(source: http://www.nbnco.com.au/connect-home-or-business/check-your-address.html)

Or even two towns over…

nbn far

(source: http://www.nbnco.com.au/connect-home-or-business/check-your-address.html)

Despite not being connected to the NBN network Jane’s household is still dependent on their internet connection for personal and professional use. Will the NBN change the way the house operates? We shall have to wait and see.

Reference List:

ABS, 2014, Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2012-13, Australian Bureau of Statistics, accessed 23rd August 2015, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/2B4C241B1D0D7691CA257C89000E3F61?opendocument

Gregg, M , n.d, Function creep: Communication Technologies and Anticipatory Labour in theInformation Workplace, accessed 23rd August 2015,https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/439943/mod_resource/content/1/Gregg%2C%20M.%20-%20Function%20creep.pdf

Additional Reading:

http://www.whistleout.com.au/Broadband/Guides/NBN-Guide-What-You-Need-to-Know

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One thought on “Internet Dependent Households and the NBN

  1. Hi there, I really loved your use of statistics and images from the NBN site to support your writing. It is interesting to see how many people rely on the internet to pay bills – interestingly my mother told me that this is the primary reason that she needs the internet in our household as everything is done online, much to her annoyance. My mother would prefer not to be online as she says it has reduced face to face communication. Do you have any thoughts on this?

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