As gamers in Australia, we have to jump through some serious hoops to play our favourite games. These hoops deter a lot of the population from picking up video games, or even taking them seriously as a viable means of entertainment or as a hobby. Not only does our government not help us, but the game manufacturers and online content providers take advantage of our generally lacklustre knowledge when it comes to the difference between Australian gaming and American gaming.
Despite what you may think when you are reading this article, not many Australians are into the hardcore crowd of gaming, they might pop online to IGN to see a review every now and again, but for the most part, we just play casually. There are plenty of reasons for that too, things such as high games prices, high online fees, slow internet speeds and a government body controlling the rating of games really doesn’t help encourage people wanting to pick up gaming. Right now, we will be talking about what needs to change in our internet infrastructure.
Currently our internet is relatively pathetic at best when compared to other countries. Australia is still in the process of welcoming ADSL2+ in internet services, even though we are capable of running E1 which is faster than T1. However, those are dedicated phone lines, T1 has 24 channels whilst E1 has 30 and each channel can support up to 64 kbps of voice or data traffic. In layman’s terms, E1 has a U/L and D/L of 2 mbps whilst T1 has a U/L and D/L of 1.5 mbps. Whereas the currently available ADSL is able to be varied to restrictions and packages that the ISP should choose to offer.
The reason we don’t embrace E1 fully is because it is pricey. The main users are businesses or internet providers themselves who use it to gain access to the backbone of the internet. Our rural friends in the outback get the worst choice as the copper wire network of ADSL is limited in how far it can send connections. Our more urban areas however could invest in SHDSL which can bring speed up to 8 mbps.
As the OECD states; Australia had 19.2 people per 100 connected to broadband by the end of 2006. The numbers slowly climb each year. It could be higher (obviously) if there is more money invested in the current infrastructure, which is starting to happen with the establishment of the National Broadband Network (NBN). The NBN is a fibre to the premises (FTTP) as an open access network featuring a speed of 1 gbps to 93% of Australian homes and businesses with the remaining 7% connected to the network via 12 mbps wireless and satellite technologies.
This process of relaying the network with fibre optic began in Tasmania in July 2009 and the first services went live on 1st July 2010. Telstra, Australia’s largest telecommunications provider, has signed a non-binding agreement to participate in the NBN.
So we are getting there, slowly but surely, we are getting there. Once the internet issue gets resolved in this country, we can really start improving how we play our games. But first there are a few more issues that need to be resolved for us to be able to fully embrace video games in the land down under.