By Julie Cotton
I am completely over the telecommunications (or lack thereof) in rural Rodney and I would say I speak for a great many of us. It irks me that I am told I live in a “Supa City” in the year 2015 and I have no/limited mobile coverage, cannot access broadband and most of the phone lines I am told are of the old copper variety.
I used to be able to get some mobile phone signal at my house, but early last year we had a big storm and it seemed for some strange reason my signal blew away (never to return) and just like that my ‘text life’ was over. I only bother with my phone now when I go into town, ‘ding ding ding’ it goes when I get into what I call the ‘privilege area’ of mobile phone coverage. Usually I have a message with a joke that I have missed or a conversation that is no longer relevant or, more infuriating, an appointment confirmation that has now lapsed. Once I drove all the way to Auckland for an appointment only to be told they had given it away because I didn’t reply “yes” to the text message. Ugghhh, I no longer give out my mobile number for fear of people thinking I am unresponsive or rude.
Winter time is the worst. Inclement weather sees our phone lines down all the time including the school. I usually race up to the round shed, stand on one leg with my thumb on my nose and pray for a signal. No matter what time of day I report a fault I always get the same old rhetoric “due to high customer call volumes …bla bla bla” can you please “leave your number”. If they could only explain to me the point of leaving a number when my only phone number is down!
My only option for internet is satellite, but they tell me our farm faces the wrong way. It is very, very expensive and out of the reach of low income earners which I find unacceptable and revolting. Some of my friends are still on dial-up – can you imagine taking a whole day just to load your emails and send a reply?
I am unwavering in my opinion that all citizens deserve to have access to basic core services and this includes decent telecommunications. Perhaps if these were provided for all our people we could forget about the world’s most liveable city because we would have the world’s most liveable country. But, until then, some of us country bumkins may have to rely on the good old “bush telegraph” and ha ha ha … that’s another story altogether.
PS I broke my personal pumpkin record this season – 19 pumpkins off one vine! Looks like it’s pumpkins every which way but loose for dinner this winter.