[Broadband] Life in Palmerston via Gungahlin

My family first established themselves in Australia at Tenterden via Guyra, NSW in the 1850s. Such addresses were quite common in Far North Queensland where I grew up and once worked as a surveyor's assistant: Sudley Station via Weipa, Queensland, for example.

I never thought I would find myself within view of Parliament House with an address like Palmerston via Gungahlin. But here I find myself every Sunday night.

For some time, Gungahlin, the fourth satellite suburb of the Australian Capital Territory, has been left behind in the generally outstanding infrastructure available to Canberrans. It is common knowledge that the Gungahlin region experienced very little access to typical metropolitan services (and continues to do so) for many years since the region's establishment.

There have been many improvements in recent times (for example, greater presence of emergency services - with a response time second to none), but the simple things still matter:
  • No bike racks on the buses to Civic (at least via Palmerston);
  • No responses from contact via the TAMS (formerly DUS, effectively the 'local council' of the ACT) website about local issues;
  • No local 'diner' (can you believe the G Spot is now closed? - once apparently the only roadside food vendor in Australia with Foxtel).
But these things pale in comparison to the access to broadband services.

I pay for a 1.5mbps connection that delivers approximately dial-up quality services lately, every Sunday evening. A far cry from the problems experienced 40 km away where people can't even get television reception, and in remote regions where Net service is even worse. But the place I live in is the capital of our great nation, not a remote region.

So, I now refer to my address as Palmerston via Gungahlin. A place where you would expect to receive metropolitan-level services, but receive remote region services in full view of Parliament House. Bring on the NBN - and who really cares who pays for it? I am happy to have my taxes pay for a connection that works, rather than 'user-pay' for a connection that doesn't.