Voice of Real Australia: It's early days but good internet could yet be in the stars

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Photo: File

Photo: File

The last time a Telstra technician visited my place to work out internet drop out issues, he told me all was fine and just to bulk upload files to work's cloud-based service at night.

I politely explained that breaking news doesn't wait for the end of the day.

I'm sure most of you reading this would have similar stories with internet service providers. It doesn't matter who you deal with, they all seem to think we are ok paying for less-than-the-best and should just learn to deal with it. Impacts on our lives and livelihoods be damned.

In a way they are right. Australia ranks poorly on the global internet rankings in 53rd place. In short, what we get is not best class by any measuring stick. In the worst case, it's barely usable (just ask my colleagues who've been in video meetings with me during lockdown).

I've written about this issue a lot in this newsletter and the last time I flagged I'd up given up on government-issue solutions and instead handed out cold hard cash for SpaceX's Starlink. That's a low-earth satellite venture from billionaire Elon Musk.

Well, just recently our dish arrived and we've been using it the past few days, so I asterisk all that follows with an "it's early days yet" warning.

But so far, it's great.

We were concerned the huge trees around our house would cause issues, and we do see the odd few seconds of drop out from time to time - nothing we can't fix with a dish relocation or some tree trimming. But mostly it's leaps and bounds above what we had before.

We got Starlink to replace our ADSL connection. Before we were getting around eight megabits per second download and 0.7mpbs upload.

Now we're averaging around 200mbps download and 15mpbs upload.

We've finally entered the modern tech age.

I'll agree that it is not a cheap solution and there are concerns with the vast satellite network.

But as somebody who relies on a good internet connection for work (like most people these days, be it for work or kids schooling) it was a no-brainer, especially as there were few other options in our area which suffers from poor to zero mobile reception and only satellite NBN solutions with prohibitive data limits.

As we head into another election cycle, Labor has already put the NBN back on the agenda. So now I guess we sit and wait to see if the government will produce a service to finally get this country's ailing internet up to scratch.

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