Sunday, 23 November 2008

K-Rudd Can't Even Fix Broadband

While the Australian Broadband Guarantee has been around longer than the Rudd government, you'd think with all his bullshit promises he could at least make sure the ABG is applicable and used appropriately.  Here's what we pensioners living in caravans or mobile homes cop as the bullshit excuse to not have to bother to fulfill that guarantee:

" Dear Mr Russ

Thank you for your email dated 7 November 2008 concerning eligibility for a subsidised broadband service under the  Australian Broadband Guarantee.

The Australian Broadband Guarantee works by paying a subsidy to registered providers to connect either a land or satellite‑based broadband service for those Australians who are unable to receive a metro‑comparable service at their principal place of residence or small business.

I note that your principal place of residence is your caravan and that it is not permanently located at a caravan park.    Under the guidelines c) any mobile premises (for example, boat, caravan or bus) or a demountable or other temporary building that is not permanently located in a particlar location, are excluded from the program.  Therefore you are not eligible to receive a subsidised broadband service under the Australian Broadband Guarantee.

If you have any further enquiries or would like more information you can contact the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy on freecall 1800 883 488 weekdays between 8.30 am and 5.00 pm and a consumer support officer will be happy to assist you.


and here's my just-sent reply, let's see if there's any justice in Australia:

" Do you know, that is total and utter discrimination against a large and growing segment of the population who are forced by economic constraints to live in one of those "any mobile premises (for example, boat, caravan or bus) or a demountable or other temporary building that is not permanently located in a particlar location" and is not acceptable to me as a solution. It's inherently unfair to assume that anyone living in a caravan is a carefree million-dollar-a-year-earning playboy who's just out to have a holiday and rort the government, because dammit these ARE our homes, our "residences" as you call them. We don't have anything else, and now you're washing your hands of us and leaving us in the lurch with broadband.

I'd like to ask you to have some discussions with managers and directors about people whose ONLY address is a mobile premises, and see if there can't be a solution for us.  You're talking battlers in these cases, either people trying to make a living in the workforce but unable to afford the sky-high rents, or pensioners trying to get by on what is now well known to be an amount well under the poverty line. Because we live in what to you is a holiday home, we're discriminated against, treated like second class citizens.  I didn't think that was what Australia is about...

You can't fix things, nor are you doing your job properly, if you just quote guideline  Life isn't like that... 

In these modern times (yes, every bit of that sarcasm is intended) there are marvels like mobile broadband.  There are sad signs of the times such as pensioners living in their caravans or buses and (gasp!) not permanently rooted to one caravan park.  And there are unfortunately still petty bureaucrats who will spend their lives pushing guideline c and thinking they're doing the job we're paying them to do...  

I've just spent over 20 minutes on opportunistic wifi which is right at the limit of being useable to edit this article and watch it publish.  I can't afford to activate or use the mobile broadband USB modem I have here, because I'm on a pension and it's not subsidised for me, which would be the quickest way to fix the ABG.  If I could pay the same as I paid for my landline ADSL and still get my 2 - 5 Gb a month at a speed a bit over the 1500 bits/second I'm curently enjoying, that would be sufficient.  

But because I haven't taken the wheels off the bus and become a permanent resident at a caravan park, I'm not eligible.  So what if I said I was permanent, and subsequently had to move to a new caravan park?  Would I get sued, ridiculous as it sounds to sue a pensioner?  Would I have to go through the whole application process and all this shit again?  

Or would it be fair to say that if I have no other address than the registration plate of my caravan or motorhome, then perhaps that is my "permanent residence" and realise that the game has to change a bit, and supplying a mobile broadband service would be cheaper simpler and more effective than supplying a satellite broadband service?

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