The National Broadband Network (NBN) is Australia’s first national wholesale-only, open access communications network that is currently being built throughout Australia in order to bring high speed broadband and telephone services to our households. Whether it’s for entertainment, business opportunities, online health or education, the National Broadband Network is aiming to provide Australians with access to fast and reliable services, also known to young adults as extremely fast internet!
The Australian Bureau of Statistics stated that during the years of 2012 – 13, of the 7.3 million households with internet access the majority had a broadband connection (93%). The remaining households either had Dial-up connection (4%) or were unsure or didn’t know their type of internet connection. The amount of digital devices each person has has risen to approximately five. Combined with an increasing demand for on the go content, this has been the result for the rise of ‘multi-screening’, or using multiple devices at the same time.
Inside the home, digital devices are connected in such a way that breaks down barriers as they are essentially linked. Studies have shown that internet users simultaneously engage in digital activities (such as using gaming, shopping and social media)whilst watching television. I’m not going lie, this study most definitely reflects my current media consumption habits. Whenever I find a program boring or find myself watching a draining advertisement, I always begin switching from Facebook to Instagram and then to Snapchat in hope that I find something interesting on one of my feeds.
In a household of two parents and two tech savvy young adults, unlimited and high-speed broadband is a must! Along with our Wi-Fi, my brother and I consider our smartphones as our most treasured possessions – sickening I know. I asked my brother what he would do without his phone and more importantly Wi-Fi? His response mimicked that of an in love couple as he replied repeatedly “I’d be lost, I couldn’t live without it”.
As my brother and I both have iPhones, iPads and laptops Wi-Fi and data is a necessity as we are constantly ‘online’ and connected in terms of social media and our online presence. Through our devices, we are able to watch YouTube videos, download and listen to music, play games, watch movies and television shows online, switch from one media platform to another, shop online and much more. Although my household isn’t connected to the National Broadband Network as of yet (work has started though, yay!) my internet connection is relatively fast…Until all four of us separately watch Netflix and then WWIII begins. Over the years our internet plan changed so frequently that my brother and I took upon ourselves to upgrade to the glorious unlimited plan. Sorry, not sorry Mum.
As a whole, my family acquires roughly 3 devices per person that connect and utilize our broadband connection and Wi-Fi. To break that down we currently have 4 iPhones, 4 iPads and 4 Macbooks #applefiends. Obviously, the more devices we use to access the internet, the more gigabytes we’re going to need.
Although I am very optimistic towards faster broadband access, a part of me remains rather hesitant. To be honest, I can’t imagine what the family home will be like in 10 years. Even with our current internet connection, we all seem to be in our own separate words, whilst we’re sitting in the exact same room. In terms of entertainment extremely fast internet is amazing! However, for business the potential has not yet been realized. Due to the introduction of sites such as Netflix we are already seeing this shift of online audiences and streaming TV rather than watching TV in the living room. Whilst this all sounds wonderful for those who are as lazy as myself these changes can impede on the experience of home.
When I think about the concept of home, I automatically think of Wifi, free food, television, privacy form the outside world where I can sing as hard as I want even though I’m horrific, my family and pets. However, whilst we better our social relationships through mediums of communication to our family, friends and new relationships through the internet we also tend to isolate ourselves. Time spent with your head glued to your smartphone takes away from face – to face interactions which in a home context eliminates family time and this is only the beginning.
It is inevitable that faster internet will change the concept of the home, the question is will it actually make our lives easier, or will it cause damage and hurt us in the long run.
Australian Bureau of Statistics date, Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2012-13. 2015. 8146.0, accessed 24 August 2015 <http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/A0074B22E3150EEECA257C89000E3F7A?opendocument.>.