Just got off an email exchange with my Mum who has moved from Tauranga in NZ to Rotorua – both reasonably large New Zealand towns. Her Internet provider (Clear) has told her that she will need to go onto an indefinite waiting list as they don’t have any more broadband connections left.
At first I laughed – they have to be joking right? You actually have to wait for broadband? A list? Any Mayor of any city in New Zealand that can’t readily offer it’s citizens and business high-speed connections on the spot should be desperately concerned for its future. I know there are other pressing matters. But this is one of them. Broadband is a source of economic, cultural and developmental advantage.
Which leads me to a question I have posed before. Why is NZ such an appalling broadband backwater? Why is high-speed Internet so incredibly over priced and affordable only to the elite and privileged?
Now, there is the obvious frustration and disappointment of my Mum not being able to see her Grandaughter each week via the web. We will sort that out. But I do really wonder though if community and business leaders realize that this is their problem. Unless they demand and orchestrate the access to the Web and all the benefits afforded by modern technology they are not likely to get it. Citizens will leave. As will businesses. Children will not get educated as they should. And high net worth tourists will not come.
Not a pretty picture.