Better communications not wanted by all

Summary:You cannot please everyone. On the one hand, there are people wanting to remain off the beaten track; and on the other, we have people calling for better rural connectivity.

The rural connectivity came to light this week as the New Zealand government's Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) further extended its tentacles into the more isolated parts of the country.

Last week, Prime Minister John Key opened a Vodafone project on the remote Great Barrier Island to deliver better mobile coverage and wireless broadband under the RBI.

As the PM explained, visitors like himself always need to be connected and accessible, wherever they are. He also noted that better mobile coverage made it safer for any boaties who might get into trouble.

Trouble is, on the lonelier beaches of the Coromandel Peninsula, a few hours' drive from Auckland, some tourists like the idea of being incommunicado.

Such holidaymakers include Paul Brislen, chief executive of the Telecom Users Association of New Zealand. Mr Brislen normally champions better communications, but says it is "glorious" not to be contacted during the holidays, as this allows the most refreshing of breaks.

Some tourist operators also say that being in areas where mobile coverage is unavailable is also welcomed by customers.

As for me, I have taken the opposite tack, often choosing accommodation providers on the basis of them offering free or cheap internet. But I can see the appeal of people wanting a complete getaway.

If the Rural Broadband Initiative is to make it harder for people to get away from it all, I guess accommodation providers will just have to start buying mobile phone jammers to please their isolation-seeking guests, or such travellers seek out locations even more isolated.

There's also always the option of simply turning the phone off

Topics: New Zealand, Mobility


Darren Greenwood has been in journalism, not all of it IT, since the days of typewriters and long before the web spun its way around the world.Coming from Yorkshire, he can be blunt, and though having resided in New Zealand, as well as Australia, for quite some time, he insists he is not one of the 'sheeple!'

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