The Data Drought
Whilst many Queenslanders are familiar with the ongoing and heart breaking drought affecting our beautiful state, far fewer are familiar with the ‘data drought’ taking its toll on rural, regional and remote areas across Australia as well. With twelve days still remaining on our monthly home internet plan, we had already used up the lion’s share as a result of three children (all with i-Devices) being at home for an extended period of time and trying to quench their ‘youtube’ thirst. I was keen to escape our house and conserve what precious download was still remaining.
We made it to the big smoke and managed to complete most of our jobs in just a few days. Whilst we are on holidays, this ‘job list’ also includes internet banking, any online applications we need completed as well as incidentals, like emailing off this column. Basically anything that will reduce the load on our meagre internet at home. By logging in to a family member’s abundant internet download plan, we can complete most jobs in a matter of minutes. The same jobs taking us far longer on our own computers, if they can even be completed at all.
This last weekend we were out with friends as a piece on the ‘Data Drought’ aired on television. Thankfully we were able to watch it afterwards online at my mother’s house (a task that would have been impossible at our home during waking hours). Times are tough in the data drought. Imagine opening the QCL shopping guide and being lured by all the amazing gear, and not being able to access the websites because The Farmer had to do the BAS online? That’s our reality. I actually PREFER shopping in store at the moment. And that’s a big call for me to make!
To be fair, it’s not just net banking and emailing that chews through my precious download. I use social media to promote my Farmer’s Wife page, as well as to keep in contact with friends and family who live so far away from me. None of that helps with my poor internet connection either. Many of my friends rely on the internet to conduct their businesses (both off-farm and farm related), or even to educate their children. This is becoming more and more challenging, and at times even impossible. Frustration is building, with many people even leaving the bush in desperation. I’m not there, but my heart breaks for those who are.
It’s not all doom and gloom. The new NBN satellite has been launched successfully. With any luck, rural, regional and remote Australia should be back to normal at least in the next few years. (I really should look at inventing a ‘sarcasm font’). Until then, I’ll continue doing as much internet business as I can when I’m in town… and thank my lucky starts that my kids (who don’t rely on the internet for their education) would rather be outside in the pool that on an i-Device anyway.
Are you suffering through a data drought? Find BIRRR on facebook for more information.