In a busy household with a family of five, having ubiquitous connectivity to the internet is a necessity. Each member of the family use the internet to further their individual knowledge and self-discovery. The family home is connected to a wireless asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) modem router. The ADSL delivers high speed data transmissions over copper telephone lines but the National Broadband Network (NBN) has revolutionised “high speed” internet. The ADSL modem has failed the family on various occasions resulting in an unpleasant experience. My mother hopes the NBN will have a positive impact on the family, resulting in an endless, enjoyable internet adventures. Surprisingly, each family member has access to over 8 devices which could connect to the internet. The devices were connected to various service providers: Telstra, Optus and TPG providing assorted internet data plans.
The NBN is an Australian wide project aiming to upgrade existing phone lines and internet network infrastructure. On behalf of the Federal Government the NBN plans to connect more than 93% of Australian homes with fast broadband. The iiNet is Australia’s second largest leading NBN service provider and is offering a variety of plans to suit residential and business needs. The iiNet commercials are targeting individuals connected to the NBN and future users to connect to their internet plans. This can been seen in the humorous commercial below.
In a discussion with my family they were mostly optimistic and looked forward to having access to the NBN. My mother states, “I will be happy to see my children have access to fast internet speeds, I won’t have to listen to them throwing tantrums anymore.” Similarly, my sister can’t wait to be connected to the NBN, the internet will work at anytime and anywhere without any interruptions. Currently, the location of the house is not included in the NBN rollout. The family were not impressed that the NBN will take a while for it to be installed in the area before they will see any benefits.
According to the Australia Bureau of Statistics (2012) Australia’s population is in excess of 21 million but only 11.6 million are internet subscribers. More than 96% of subscribers have broadband access via either mobile, satellite or fixed line connections (Cradduck 2012, p. 2). Due to the NBN not being distributed evenly, there are multiple disadvantages for areas which are not connected. With the internet becoming a central feature of family life, the NBN will affect the dimensions of family communication.
It will have widespread beneficial effects, along with widespread negative effects. There will be conveniences and privacy violations. There will be new ways for people to connect, as well as new pathways to isolation, misanthropy, and depression (Anderson & Rainie 2014).
Mobile phones allow for easy and on-the-go internet access and using them at family dinners is becoming a social norm in family households. The internet may be eroding family time but the NBN will provide a new layer of interaction. The NBN will provide reliable internet which will offer family members the chance to share moments of exploration and entertainment.
The NBN will play an important role in delivering e-Learning services for Australia’s future education system. E-learning will give opportunities for students to learn beyond the classroom walls and access with ease more international resources. At the same time, e-learning will need to be continually assessed on how effectively content material engages and positively impacts students. “Successful e-Learning delivery will require the continuing tailoring of materials, and methods of delivery, to suit the individual needs of learners,” (Cradduck 2012, p. 3). E-learning will be beneficial for students but it does pose challenges to students living in remote rural areas. In addition, students who are from low income families may be marginalised because they will not be able to bring a technology (iPad) to school or complete homework at an unconnected home.
According to the Akamai 2014 State of the Internet Report, Australia is ranked 42 in the world in terms of average connection speeds, despite the 39% increase in average internet connection speeds. However, Australia is down nine positions from the previous quarter, casting a dark shadow on the NBN rollout. The table below illustrates the top 10 countries with the highest average connection speeds. Australia needs to step up there game because it’s astonishing to see what countries snuck their way to the top 10.
The NBN aided by technological devices will empower individuals and organisations to expand their horizons. High speed internet will enable people to obtain information for health and education purposes. Furthermore, reliable broadband will allow individuals to maintain contact with friends and families from interstate and internationally. In order to ensure this occurs the rollout of the NBN will need to reach all Australians for it to be adopted as a successful project. If not, a minority of us are going to be connected but in our own little worlds.
Anderson, J & Rainie, L 2014, The Internet of Things Will Thrive by 2025, Pew Research Internet Project, viewed 20 August 2014, http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/05/14/internet-of-things/
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2012- 2013, cat. No. 8146.0, accessed 20 August 2014, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/8146.0Chapter12012-13
Cradduck, L 2012, ‘The Future of Australian e-learning: it’s all about access’, e-Journal of Business Education & Scholarship of Teaching, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 1-11, viewed 20 August 2014, http://eprints.qut.edu.au/55900/2/55900.pdf
Hello! Canada Magazine, 2014, The 10 best ‘Mean Girls’ quotes, image, Hello! Canada, viewed 20 August 2014, http://ca.hellomagazine.com/film/0201401244613/the-10-best-mean-girls-quotes
Hong, K 2014, Internet Speeds, image, The Next Web, viewed 20 August 2014, http://thenextweb.com/insider/2014/06/27/akamai-global-average-internet-speed-24-year-year-3-9-mbps-mobile/
Hong, K 2014, Akamai: Global average web speed up 24% annually to 3.9 Mbps, 20% of connections now above 10 Mbps, The Next Web, weblog post, 27 June, 20 August 2014, http://thenextweb.com/insider/2014/06/27/akamai-global-average-internet-speed-24-year-year-3-9-mbps-mobile/