When I started writing this blog, full of idealistic notions of the way we would live on our new property, I imagined we would face many challenges. I didn’t imagine that even being able to log onto the internet would be one of them. Our property is 30 minutes drive out of a very large rural city. It’s not remote, by any definition of the word. However, for the past week, a landline phone was the only communication line out of this house. Our mobile phone coverage is intermittent, and only works when the weather is fine. If it is raining or foggy – forget it. Needless to say, we’ve had quite a bit of rain this week.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. On our final property inspection, I had asked the previous owners if they had good internet connection. ‘Yes’ was their answer, and I knew that the Real Estate Agent was keeping in contact with them via email, so I didn’t ask any more questions. It seemed like it would be a standard non-braodband connection. Unfortunately this was not the case.
Without knowing the provider and the technology they used, we were finding it a bit frustrating to work our way through the options available to us. After some experimenting with our many internet enabled devices, and asking questions, we confirmed that broadband was not an option (we had anticipated this) our landline phone line is not strong enough to support ADSL2, or even ADSL1 (this was a shock) and the 3G wireless signal was ‘not found’. Of the many ISP’s operating in this country, only one was able to provide potential solutions for our area – for the others it was out of signal range. We ended up with a choice between a very expensive satelite connection or an ariel which could potentially boost the wireless connection to a mobile phone tower. We opt for the latter, which comes with a ten day return option in case it didn’t solve the problem. An NBN tower is planned for our area, and has been approved by council, so we believe a temporary solution will see us through the next year. If the NBN tower is built, we only need a temporary fix.
Our ‘temprary fix’ gives us two signal bars – enough to blog, email and do basic searches, but it only allows us to have one PC connected. Technically, we could connect everyting, but this would slow the speed for each device, making the connection practially useless. It is slow enough being connected to only one PC.
Since its inception, I’ve alwyas supported the NBN. Faster and more powerful internet speeds benefits so many people in a range of ways. Howerver, I have only recently come to see this initiative as an essential service which should be available to everyone. In an age where we are referred to websites for company and Government information, where online banking is cheaper and more convenient for both the banks and for consumers, where social media is becoming a primary source of information, being restricted to a landline phone seems a huge disadvantage. So I am thankful for our two signal bars and look forward to a time where our internet connection is more powerful.