Friday, November 05, 2010

The NBN - the best post

My apologies to Crikey for reposting one of today's comments here, but it is simply too good to not redistribute. It is a really good explanation of how even "trivial" aspects of the NBN are actually very important.

Gabriel McGrath writes: Re. Keith Thomas (Monday, comments) who wrote: "we have an official estimate, please, of the extent to which the NBN -- if implemented as planned -- will be used by gamers?"

Hear hear, Keith!

It’s about time we swung NBN debate around to the needs of decent, mainstream Australians.
Like Marion Lancaster, a resident of Bribie Island Retirement Village, in North Queensland. She’s one of many retirees there who aren’t as mobile as they used to be, but still need some physical -- and social -- activity. Each week, they play Wii bowling. They’ve found it to be a fantastic social event, and as their physiotherapist Vera Fullerton notes, it improves their fine motor skills.

What could an NBN -- with high speed internet to metro, rural and regional Australia do for them? It could mean elderly residents in Bribie Island playing games against new friends, in Perth or Launceston. They could start and end each game with full-screen videochat, so we have both physical and social stimulation for our growing aging population, overcoming their inability to do stronger physical activities – and the tyranny of distance.

Of course, it’s not just retirees who comprise Australia’s decent mainstream gamers. With 88% of Australian homes having one or more gaming devices, it’s your next-door neighbour, the bank manager and the woman who drives the 514 bus each morning.

Finally Keith, you mentioned the NBN’s ability to improve health & education. You’ll be glad to hear of the fantastic potential of games, and an NBN, to do even more, to improve the lives of decent mainstream Australians across the country. People like the design students from Swinburne’s Faculty of Design, who just won the 2010 Premier’s Recognition Award. Their series of website games help autistic children learn life skills, like coping with change, recognising emotions and non-verbal communication.

Can you imagine, how good it will be when families with Autistic kids -- in the most remote regions of Australia -- can access that? And then there’s the children’s burns units in hospitals, that use a game called SnowWorld, that’s been found to be a very effective anaesthesia for pain management. Wouldn’t it be great for even more interactive games and further studies into their benefits, that are more easily achieved with widespread highspeed internet?

PS: Keith, teachers in Mosman and doctors in South Melbourne may be fine, but I’m not sure their counterparts in rural areas have "sufficient high-speed connections for their purposes". Well, they would tell you so in an email, but the broadband’s really slow at this time of day in the back of Bourke, when more than a few people try to use it.

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

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