“Wireless you say?”

First internet access since we left Hamelin Bay, almost the breadth of a sea girted land ago. Lots of entries to catch up on, but before then I just wanted to make a quick comment about the apparent digital divide in Outback Australia.

More accurately I should say the “Accessible Outback” – this being how Broken Hill, NSW describes itself. It is here, in The Junction Hotel in Broken Hill that I type this entry. The beer is cold, the wireless is fast and free, the barman has a sense of humor, the bar stools are comfortable and the tables clean. What more could you ask for? So, if you are in Broken Hill, and you are looking for wireless access, may I recommend heartily the Junction Hotel at 560 Argent Street.

Apart from The Junction however, a search in Broken Hill for accessible broadband is not without challenges. It goes something like this:

Me – “Hi. I saw your sign that says you have internet access.”
“Yeah mate.”
Me – “Great. Do you have wireless?
Wireless? Yeah mate, we’ve got both AM and FM wireless out here.”
Me – “Eerr…I mean wireless internet access. Do you have a wireless network?”
Oh. No. Just those couple of machines over there you can use for $5 a minute. The Internet is down anyway.”
Me – (Thinking – Oh no….must be those evil Russian hackers causing chaos. There must be mayhem out there as a generation goes Twitterless and students everywhere have to try to use an encyclopedia to finish their homework. And here I am in Broken Hill missing it all.) “Do you know anywhere in town that has access?”
“Ummmm…..you could try insert-name-here-of-business

Then you could walk to said business, and have the whole conversation again. Five attempts later: Bingo. The Junction.

Gotta love it.

And what to make of Broken Hill’s moniker as “The Accessible Outback”. I figure it is sort of like “The outback that isn’t quite the outback, but at least it is a bit easier to get to”. Marketing genius. Pure, unadulterated marketing genius.