Making Connections

In my last post, I introduced my home in Cootamundra, where I hope to be undertaking some fieldwork research in the upcoming months. Our home is situated about 10 kilometres outside of the township of Cootamundra, which in itself has a humble population of only 7705.

The rolling out of the NBN network has been a topic of discussion within our household for a number of years now. When it first came to town back in July 2016, the news was exciting enough to make the Cootamundra Herald. Prior to then, our family only received our internet through satellite, and it was s l o w. I’m talking, turn the computer on, open a webpage, and then go and make yourself a coffee, or a three-course meal, while you wait for it to load.

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Since then it has been interesting to observe how media usage in our house has changed. Within the past year, both my sister and I have moved out of home, and no longer are a great burden on our data usage. I asked my parents whether they think their media habits have changed greatly since the NBN: surprisingly, no. Mum explained that the primary way they receive their news is still from television, and she only uses the home computer a couple of times a day to check emails or search the weather (although we do have some flash weather station that does that for us). As I have mentioned in my last post also, neither of them use social media, and so do not have the need to be using the internet on their phones very regularly at all.

However, I don’t know if this example could be used as a fair representation of what all media experiences are like in rural parts of Australia. My sister and I find their habits rather infuriating and incomprehensible at times, especially when we both come home and are constantly being told off for checking our phones so often. It would be interesting to compare this to my grandfather, funnily enough, who uses social media regularly and is indeed much more tech savvy than the generation below him.

In addition, I was very interested to discover that there are still many, many places that do not yet have access to the NBN in Australia, places which are much more suburban and developed than my humble home town. This is something which had absolutely taken for granted, surely if little Cootamundra has the NBN, Manly would too?! I was interested to find this article which compared “poor internet coverage” to a “plague” in rural communities, illustrating the situation as rather dystopian. “Nation building”, or “politicised quagmire”? I’ll let you decide.


Featured Image: “untitled” by Procsilas Moscas, licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Published by susiealdermann

Fifth Year Bachelor of Communications and Media/ Bachelor of International Studies (Dean's Scholar) student

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