We have been having some internet issues this week. Our connection has been slow… and that is REALLY slow since we are on ISDN and our top speed is only 128kbs on a good day, so getting even slower than that is rather painful and makes doing the basics online a little difficult at times.
We are not sure what has been going on in the last few days but we do know that the wonderful Telstra (the only service provider currently available for us) will discontinue our current package at the end of this year. This little ‘blip’ on the ISDN road has really reminded me that in less than 6 months we will have to find alternative net access or have none.
We live in a semi rural area about 50kms from the Melbourne CBD but as far as internet services are concerned we are classed as ‘rural and remote’. That is a bit of a joke really as many ‘suburbs’ of Melbourne are further from the CBD than we are and yet we are somehow ‘remote’? The semantics of it however, mean little, the reality is that we don’t have access to ADSL of any kind, even geriatric old dial-up services are gltichy where we are and keep dropping out even over a normal phone conversation.
We started out with Satellite access but the cost of that is astronomical and the download limit tiny. We easily went over our 2gig a month limit (for downloads and uploads combined) and found ourselves hit with a 15 cents a mb charge for any extra usage, considering we were already paying over $100 a month for the package, add the extra charges and we just couldn’t continue to pay for it, and eat as well.
As it stands currently, if our ISDN was taken out today our options would be going back to satellite access, or taking up a wireless plan with Telstra (the only ISP who has the wireless services in our area). Wireless seems like a good idea until you visit the website and find out how much they want to charge us – $49.95 for 1 gig a month (and the same 15cents a mb for extra usage). If we want more downloads we could opt for 3gig and pay $109.95 per month. It kind of makes their advertising slogans of ‘download all the music files you want at super fast speeds’ a bit of a joke… how many music files can you download before you use up your 1gig allowance?
I was hoping I could blog about this without turning it into a bitter rant about Telstra but it seems I haven’t quite managed that.. sorry. The crux of the issue is, unless Optus get their wireless services through to us in the next 5 months (then we can take up a Virgin wireless package which is a much more reasonable deal) we will have to seriously look at our internet usage. We will have to seriously reduce our internet usage. I will have to stop creating digi scrap designs, and seriously cut back on all the other things we do online as we just won’t be able to afford it. This has made me stop and take a good hard look at what I do online, why I do it, and how my life would be different if I stopped doing it.
I am the first to admit I am terribly addicted to the net. I have been using it for a long, long time now and I am very dependant on it for so many things. I don’t even want to consider having no access at all, but thinking about having less access, while freaking me out a little, doesn’t scare me as much as I thought it would.
I would be sad to give up my design work, it’s my hobby, my ‘thing’ that stops my brain turning into mush, and at the moment it is my source of income and that fact, making my own money (however little) is quite important to me. It would be hard to give all that up, but I am surprised to find myself thinking that it wouldn’t be the end of the world. In actual fact I can think of several things that would help fill that gap without too much effort at all.
While I think I could give up the digi design gig, right now, at this moment, I would be devastated to give up blogging, both writing mine and reading others. The thought of giving up connecting with people online via blogs and especially through forums and email/msn is a very scary thought for me indeed. Me, the person who doesn’t like the phone remember… I rely on the net for communication a LOT.
I am sitting her spewing all this out into the blog sphere in an attempt to get it out of my head and stop worrying about something that I have no control over, something I can’t change. There is nothing we can do about this except sit and wait and see what happens… but if anyone wants to send prayers or happy thoughts of good karma or whatever it is you do/believe/send that Optus will pull it’s finger out and get their wireless services happening out our way sooner rather than later, that would be lovely!