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Digital Adelaide « Previous | |Next »
May 10, 2003

I have been trying to get connected to broadband this week. I 've signed up, the modem is arrived and a few technical glitches to do with security in the high tech townhouse are being sorted.

But I haven't actually signed up to Broadband even though I live in the commerical district next door to all the lawyers and surrounded by local businesses. I have signed up to some beast called ADSL that is neither one thing nor the other. What that means is that high-speed cable has not laid through the CBD. And I presume that local loops from exchanges to located users in the city where network resources are concentrated are in need of an upgrade. So I pay for Broadband and get something second best.

Its a personal story true. But it is a very good example of the lack of commitment by the state to making Adelaide an integral part of the knowledge economy. Instead of cutting budgets and laying off more public servants the Rann Government ought to be spending on infrastructure for the knowledge-economy or on Adelaide becoming an education city.

Now the Rann Government does have an IT strategy called Information Economy 2002. It is about:

"...creating networks of people, building a connected community where all community members benefit rather than a select few. The most effective way to achieve this is to ensure that all South Australians are encouraged and enabled to participate in the Information Economy, locally, nationally and globally...[Its initiatives are] intended to place South Australia firmly on the map of the new global economy as a centre of connectivity, creativity and entrepreneurial activity—a truly information-enabled society in every way."

Yet the key agency here, the Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology, does not even have its own website! The Information Economy Policy Office website says nothing. The Office of Innovation has nothing online whilst the link to The Information Economy 2002 strategy is broken. Digital Adelaide indeed. Its a joke. No doubt the neo-liberals are cutting the public servants in the The Information Economy Policy and Innovation Office.

Even though there is a council election happening in Adelaide there is very little talk about a digital Adelaide---- not even by by the high profile Michael Harbison, whose website says that he:

"...has thrown himself into the task of revitalising Adelaide in his role as an Adelaide City Councillor and Deputy Lord Mayor. Michael believes that now is the time to lead Adelaide from the front as Lord Mayor."

His priorities for a revitalised Adelaide say nothing about hotwiring Adelaide to make it digital.

What a sorry state of affairs. SA will remain the backward state forever envious of Victoria and NSW. It cannot be like these economic powerhouses because global capital has passed it by. So it needs to develop an alternative regional identity in a globalised world. This is what it is failing to do. It plays areound with all sorts of ideas-----high tech hub, education city, defence centre, knowledge nation-----but none have any traction.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:45 PM | | Comments (11)
Comments

Comments

Gary,

I don't profess to be a technical expert, but my general understanding is that ADSL is equal to and in some ways better than cable (and frequently significantly faster). Moreover, lack of cable access applies fairly generally in commercial/CBD areas throughout Australia (not just Adelaide), simply because cables were laid in high density residential areas where the profitable markets for cable TV were located. Most broadband users nowadays sign up for ADSL. I've had it for a bit over 12 months now, and find it excellent. If I were you, I'd sign up ASAP and get it working. You may find that there are better deals from ISPs other than Telstra too (but be careful that your ISP looks substantial enough to still be around for the whole of your contract length).

Hi Ken,
Good points. They undercut my argument.

I guess I can still hold onto my gut feeling that little is being with respect to the getting SA a place in the knowledge economy or revitalising Adelaide to enable a flourishing urban life.

I've blogged on this; basically there's just no reason to try developing a knowlege economy here as there's so many cultural factors working against it.

ADSL operates through "normal" phone lines. You don't need a spacial cable to use it, like you do with ISDN or say Optus' cable home service.

Thanks for the info. I sort of guessed ADSL operated through normal phone lines that had been rejigged some how. I had got confused with ADSN.

It is going to take the security company a week to disconnect the security connection back to base. They are in no hurray at all. So no broadband until the end of the week.

Shocking service when it is just a matter of pressing a few buttons our phone.

As an ex-Adelaide boy, my feelings are that Adelaide's problem is not a failure to take its IT ambitions seriously, but rather an inclination to put all too much effort into propping up inefficient industries like automobiles - witness the extraordinary inefficiency of the highly subsidised Holden plant.

Only when an SA government finally decides that its role is not to spend whopping great wads of taxpayer cash on whatever industry has captured a double-page spread in the latest Sunday Mail will the state stand a chance at economic recovery.

Alan,
I agree. It always susprises me that the price of the state support of the car industry by the SA Government is not tied to the conditions.

Conditions that push them to shift to more R&D and building a more clever dimension (design and sustainability) into their production. Then connect this to the universities and build up a cluster of more knowledge-based industries.

It happens with food and we have a flourishing rdegional cuisine. So why not cars?

I think Alan means Mitsubishi not Holden. Holden's is doing well but Mitsis is a lost cause.

Scott,
Alan's comments with respect to Mitsubishi make more sense. It is the company that is always on the front pages, in crisis, meeting with Premier, barely turning a profit, not selling much overseas etc etc.

Apologies; I've been in Victoria too long! Yes, I did mean Mitsubishi. Holden is not free of subsidy, but it gets a lot less government support than Mitsubishi. It is also a far more efficient plant, or so I'm told by a friend of mine who has worked at both. Coincidence?

To be fair to Mitsis the company I work for supplies components to both Holden and Mitsis and Mitsis are the fussy customer. But they are coming off such a low base. I think they might have twigged that they are drinking at the last chance saloon as far as public subsidy goes.