A blog by Sarah George, Communications Advisor at InternetNZ
Last night my Internet connection dropped.
Not for a minute.
Not for an hour.
But it doesn't end there.
We have no cell-phone reception and therefore can't access phone data.
No we don't live in the wops. We're in the middle of a suburb surrounded by houses. We even have our own newspaper, The Normandale Times. We just happen to live on the other side of the cell tower at Belmont hills.
So when the ever handy on/off and connect/disconnect doesn't work, and the three IT guys living in the flat can't fix the connection, you know you're screwed.
As I check my to-do-list for the evening (I'm a big fan of lists) I realise every single item on there requires the Internet.
- Cook dinner (online recipe)
- Check TradeMe for fridge listings (we're moving to a house with cell coverage!)
- Research Internet providers for new house (ironic)
- Track package I'm waiting for
- This made me think.
If I had this same issue day after day, getting things done would be extremely frustrating. I use the Internet for EVERYTHING.
Yet having no Internet connection is the reality for some people in New Zealand. The effects of digital exclusion are impacting some of our most vulnerable people and communities.
More and more of our lives are happening online and people are being left behind. If 14 hours was enough for me, imagine a life where you walk to the local library for Wi-FI to do your homework or check your email.
So, what else did I miss in my 14 hours of disconnect from the world? Not much really. My sisters messaging our family chat asking my holidaying parents what day is rubbish day. A few emails (a sale happening at Briscoes?! No way!) and I couldn't check my Fitbit sleep stats.
14 hours later I'm posting this with my Wi-Fi back in business. The digital divide barrier in my flat abolished. Now, back to the list and who's going to provide my Internet at the new place...
If you're interested in learning more about New Zealand's digital divide, InternetNZ has created a report voicing the struggles and experiences of those who live without the Internet.
It's online of course.