The Internet of Australia (resp. to @JamieJakov)


Recently I read a blog entry by my good friend Vadim where he mentioned the Internet in his home country, Latvia, and his experiences since coming to Australia where not only are our Internet speeds slow, but the bandwidth itself is clearly a notch lower than most countries.

Some First World we are.

But I digress. I have a few friends, such as Vadim and Ruben, who have come from other places. Better places, probably, and with one difference that stands out - better Internet (though it's probably not the only one).

But for the majority of people I've known, they're like me - they have lived in Australia their whole lives and wish for something better. But we all know that change isn't going to happen anytime soon no matter how much we wish for it, judging by how slowly the NBN has been rolling out as if they almost don't care. The final option seems to be simply moving overseas.

Dial-up dialogue

However, after reading Vadim's anecdote I look back on my own experiences with Australian Internet, but I've only been using broadband for the past 5 years or so. For a long time, my mother refused to let my father upgrade our dial-up to broadband because she said we'd simply be online all the time and never do any work. As it was we err... dialled up a couple of times a day and we had to reconnect after every 4 hours. No one could ever call us because the line was always busy because we were online. Ah the joys of 56kbps Internet.

In checking the exact year in which my family got broadband, I brought it up with my parents and they decided they wanted to go a little deeper, going on about how 'we would have had many things if only you didn't abuse them'. I find this hilarious, given my friends' internet usage at the time.

I used to read Red River somewhere. Legit.

In any case, I don't remember it vividly but I do recall it vaguely: sometime when I was in Year 10 in 2007, I was either trying to load manga in an online manga reader (it would take a couple of minutes to load a page) or was downloading some 2-4MB files (20 minutes is fast :D) when, suddenly, the Internet was fast! I heard my dad outside say that we'd changed to broadband since they were tired of never being able to make phone calls. Finally, I'd joined the world of my friends. Where a 10 minute video didn't take 2 hours to load. Or was it more?

So I suppose Australian Internet is almost a luxury in comparison to that - at least I get 256kbps when capped. I long for faster speeds or at least no download limit, yet this is the reality... I think if I ever went to Latvia or Singapore and tested their internet, firstly I would die from shock then at the limitless possibilities!!

At the peak of my internet use, I stopped using Youtube altogether and downloaded in only off-peak hours (which also has a download limit) in order to preserve on-peak internet, I became frugal with how much internet was used. Even in Hong Kong I never really experienced what their Internet is like, though for once it was nice to not have to really worry about whether I would blow a download limit.

Well, at least the Great Firewall of Australia didn't happen.

Update: PS. I made my first website in 2006, when I was in IST in year 9. I'mma sad panda.

Red River image from Silverstarwings. Dial-up dialogue from Lismore Internet Services.