I came across the BIRRR group only recently (after the ABC LandLine segment ) and it was an absolute blast of moist fresh air across the barren land of data drought. The effort behind the website is its real strength. The fact that all you have real lives and family and many, many demands on your time and yet have made such am impact in many ways is an incredible testament to your talent and dedication.
What I like about BIRR is that:
· It brings people together to share their stories of data drought and the communication problems in modern rural, remote and regional Australia
· It does meticulous research, calling on experts, thoroughly researching the problems and liaising with professionals. The fact that BIRRR does not shout out a particular opinion or give solutions that have been just heard about in the local pub makes it a credible and reliable resource.
· It caters for the full range of RRR needs on the comms front – Phones, Mobiles, FW, Satellite, etc etc
· It’s willing and able to help individuals with individual problems (where do you all get the time and energy??)
· It places an emphasis on the needs of education in our RRR communities
· the webpage has a user-friendly design and is really easy to navigate. Articles and posts are dated and authorship / info sources attributed
· It has an important policy for fb and twitter posts that they are to be respectful, not rude and not (too) politically biased
Back in the early 20th C when the phone first came to central NSW my grandparents were doing mixed farming around the Forbes area. Their technological highpoint for communications was a party-line that ran through about 12 properties. Everyone shared the one line and had an individual combination of rings for them to know a call was for them. Haven’t we come a long way! Haven’t we got a long way still to go.?
My particular interest has been Fixed Wireless and if not for the contribution of BIRRR I would have given up and gone back to two tin cans with a string between. We failed our first signal test * but are now back on track with a new RSP (suggested by BIRRR) and, with luck, by the end of the year should be on the nbn. Great for us. But what of the so many others who are far worse off? All strength to BIRR and may it continue until we all have a decent and affordable means to communicate, help educate our kids, do business, and (dare I mention it?) be entertained!
UPDATE 3/12/15: A thousand thank you’s to Kristy Sparrow and all the installers who visited our place, and the brilliant folks at Aussie Broadband and the BIRRR community. We’re now on the NBN FW in South Gippsland. It was a difficult journey but we got there. We can run our business, communicate with our friends, and have much lower stress levels about going over our data limit. When the grandkids come to stay they are happy too.
* Chris was able to get the correct signal strength when nbn changed the fixed wireless parameters from -96dbm to -99dBm
Prepared for BIRRR by Chris Downes