These days, everyone should have access to electricity, water and a telephone line (although I have a brother-in-law of mine that doesn’t have drinkable tap water). Back in the days of analogue and digital dialup modem technology, the telephone line was not only there for emergencies and keeping in touch with people but also opened up the Internet to the masses.
Times have changed and whilst broadband speeds have increased, particularly in the metropolitan areas, the availability of broadband has lagged somewhat. Even in the cities, “broadband blockers” such as “pair gain” technology can cause all sorts of headaches for your average consumer given its incompatibility with xDSL services.
So with the NBN still in the works and with fibre optics being deployed as the medium of choice, I think it is a good time to review the importance of broadband access in Australia. Mobile broadband services are great but also relies on decent coverage with low congestion in order to deliver a reasonable services. The NBN is a great solution but I think we need to go the extra step and declare access to the NBN as a utility service with pricing to match.
Every Australian deserves high speed access to the Internet. It’s disappointing that details are still scant with regards to the NBN and with an election looming, who knows what is going to happen. As with a lot of things, time will tell but I reckon that NBN access must be declared a public utility.