Not technology, furniture.

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:11 am by Toby

I live out in the sticks, not quite the middle of nowhere Ireland. The only broadband up until now we have been able to get is satelite. Given the fact that we were happy to have any kind of broadband at all when we got it (primarily to reduce our ludicrously huge ISDN phone and rental bills) I cant give out about it too much. However it just doesn’t have ZING.

The speed on the satelite is fine – want to download a 2Meg file no problem. 12 seconds later its on your hard disk, but want to check your email on yahoo! Thats a completly different story. As anyone who’s ever heard about or used satelite broadband knows – Latency kills. Now the companies that sell satelite broadband have tried very hard to improve this, and a properly configured satelite connection works reasonably well (a lot better than our ‘never quite set up properly’ connection we have here), but it doesnt have the WOW factor or Zing that real broadband has. I was in a friends office in a town not 10 miles from where I live which is DSL enabled and check my yahoo mail was not a chore, no waiting for 5-8-12 seconds to see the next email, just click and view, click and view. It has ZING.

Eircom (Irelands main (real) telecom provider) is doing an achingly slow rollout of DSL across the country, and are trying hard to get people to sign up. I have nearly broken several radios and a television in anger and frustration at Eircom ads that tell me to ‘Try out broadband you’ll love it’ – as I scream at the television to tell me when I’M going to have it. I’m so frustrated with them at this point that even if they did connect my local exchange, I might just not take it to spite them.

But all is soon to change, my life is soon to be reborn with the coming of wireless broadband to my area – a 512k (i was going to say line but that’s not right – what is the right work for 512k of wireless broadband connection) will be mine for the taking in a few short weeks.

What I’ve found since I learnt that this momentous event was going to be happening, is that I have begun to think seriously about a wired (or I suppose wireless ) existence. Start a blog, I can update it at home sitting in front of the telly (it was never really a viable idea with a dialup modem), I recently bought myself a laptop, and ticked the box beside wireless router on the website, in anticipation of having my very own 512k pipe to the rest of the world. I even went looking for FM transmitters, so when I was doing the washing up, I could be listening to bbc archived programs or the latest great chat on http://www.itconversations.com . In this new frame of mind I also began to see how important it was that we are all connected via broadband to the rest of the world.

Broadband provides two things it provides speed which is a big plus and makes digital life all the more pleasant, but more importantly is it provides a permanent, always on , single charge connection to the web. For anyone reading this in a country where you dont get charged for local calls and therefore are not used to extortionate phone bills being attached to an interest to things online, this last issue may not seem so important. But for those of us cursed with ‘pay as you go’ internet access, the availability of single charge connection to the internet is huge. It moves the internet one step closer to the television. Not technology, furniture.

I dont have my broadband connection yet, and the way things go I might not get it for another two years, but I’m hoping it will be switched on in the next few months. I will keep interested parties updated on the deteriorating state of my family life as I disolve into a puddle of bits and bytes.

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