I just received this amazing personal statement of how important better broadband is for families in our community. Everything Cathie says will resonate with almost everyone in our region : innovative business efforts, family involvement in education and school work , overseas extended family contact, home entertainment and learning …
I reprint it here with Cathie’s permission , and encourage you to read it, comment on it, share it with friends ….and if you feel so inclined, to send me your own personal statement firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks John …… I will ask my husband, Andrew, to write to you with more details regarding his business issues with poor internet. (He is selling software from Spain, which is owned by a Chinese company headquartered in California, into US state-governments, so he has a uniquely global perspective!)
From a personal/family point of view, we cannot stream movies, and YouTube videos usually struggle. Skype, or any other form of web-based AUDIO and video conferencing, is next to impossible, as the upload and download rates differ so significantly. This means that it is rarely possible for my parents in Scotland to spend time ‘face-to-face’ with their grandchildren: Despite the technology we have, effective communication is ‘relegated’ to landline telephone connection.
School work is increasingly moving to devices and ‘google docs’ with high levels of collaboration. It routinely requires high-spec visual presentation, movie clips, sound processing, etc. My children – and I have 4 – will be using only increasing amounts of bandwidth as time goes on. They are yet to get their own devices, but this is only months away. Without significant increases in bandwidth their ability to work with, relate to, and learn from their school mates – and others around the globe – will be severely restricted. When we talk about learning another language in order to better communicate and relate to people, we’ll mean computer language, not human language. With technology use and development in an exponential growth pattern, the competitive advantage for my children in the future will be visual, creative and curiosity driven, integrating human factors into an increasingly data-driven world .
I do not believe it is unrealistic to expect 4-5 people in our family to be working at HD video streaming levels of bandwidth in the very near future (3-5 years). Note that this is without taking into account play and entertainment activities, which will swamp other data demands and require increasing amounts of capacity, at levels we would find extreme to even consider today. Data storage for personal use only 20 years ago used to be measured in MB, then it became GB, and now we’re buying it in TB … that’s x1000 growth … exponential creation and streaming of content at levels that were unimaginable a generation ago. Can we even conceive the thought of what our children will view as essential for life and business?
Personally, I am about to launch a retail business that, despite its brick and mortar feet, is essentially an internet business. The shop will be at Mapua Wharf, but my Point of Sale system, Accounting system, Stock Inventory system, Customer Service portals, etc. will all be Cloud-based. 99.9% uptime of sufficient bandwidth is therefore commercially essential. I am already concerned that I’m going to be running this on a piece of copper wire and one-dot mobile coverage. While an add-on to my modem will hopefully improve the quality of my cell connectivity, this is a huge risk to my business model. The ‘dematerialisation’ of retail means that my internet channels should generate most of my business, with the shop showcasing my products (like a museum!) and providing a ‘retail entertainment’ environment for customers and a ‘research and development’ function for my staff, rather than being the driving force of the business. My connectivity with my business systems and warehouse will be THE most critical factor in the growth and development of the business.
Connectivity infrastructure will be the basis of the economic health, wealth and development of this region. There must be a plan for complete coverage of high speed connection, and hubs of blistering speed for data-intense businesses to centre around. This is no different to the impact of roads, ports and railways during the industrial age. It is not smart that some of the most innovative and development-minded individuals in the region are right now focused on building bigger pipes. This area can a focal point for building world-changing businesses discovering new employment opportunities, developing new wealth generators for the region, and discovering life-quality enhancers for people all round the globe. Now is the time to develop a plan that stays AHEAD of the technology growth and uptake curve, pulling development along and inviting innovation and inward investment.
I sincerely hope that the work of you and the rest of the team helps us get there!
With warm thanks and kind regards,