Australian consumers have always been cautious ones. Internet uptake was slow on the upstart and it has taken many years for Australian’s to trust online credit card transactions or online business in general. In the past five years, netbanking has boomed in popularity across the country as Australians look to the future. It’s probably no co-incidence that this has coincided with broadband rollouts in the same time. In 2004-5 ABS statistics reveal that almost a third of all businesses do not use broadband because of perceived unavailability or lack of benefit. The tyranny of distance places extra responsibility on last (hundred) mile technologies and even now much of the POTS (plain old telephone system) lacks adequate quality of service for a stable dial up connection, let alone broadband.
Amidst the preparation for the sale of Australia’s largest telco, the government has decided to throw a decent sum of money into last (hundred) mile solutions for rural Australia in order to increase the bottom line figures for broadband penetration. These include wireless radio and satellite connections, with the latter being available to people regardless of their geographic location, as 2-way satellite allows data up and down without the need for a phone line at all. Those other rural users who can get access to ancient ISDN technologies are only eligible for the 1-way satellite solutions. After the government subsidy that pays for the equipment to connect these backwaters, the user is left with a 256/64k or faster satellite service with some severe limitations. (more…)