BY 2036, Northern Rivers residents will be working, learning, shopping, playing and even exercising online, a local internet service provider predicts.
Sales manager for Lismore-based internet company Linear G, Amanda Morris, said the already fast-growing internet would become a pivot point for the region as its population boomed by about 70,000 people.
That meant download speeds would be even more critical in the future as more people used the internet for watching video, making video phone calls, playing games and getting medical advice.
“I can see it (the internet)being built into phones andtelevisions,” Ms Morris said.
“You will get cheaper phone calls and there will be far more choice.”
Predicting technological change too far into the future could be a dangerous business – as those who tipped the dominance of virtual reality and beta video players have learned.
However, based on current trends, internet-connected televisions able to access video-streaming websites ranging from the ABC’s iView to user-generated content sites, such as You Tube, would not be a great leap.
“Anyone who has a PlayStation already has that now,” Ms Morris said.
Technologically-savvy retiring baby boomers and Gen-Xers of 2036 will rely on theinternet for entertainment, through things such as web-based games and shopping. However, increasing bandwidth, along with the arrival of 3-D TV, would also have them going online for medical advice, physiotherapy programs and even things such as yoga classes.
Local schools and universities will also rely on the internet more to transmit classesto distant students, and vice-versa.
Local businesses will be – and in many cases already are – turning themselves into global operations, backing up a local shopfront with online stores selling goods and services across the planet.
The key to all this is bandwidth, and Ms Morris said the long-awaited National Broadband Network – as opposed to the wireless networks relied on by mobile phones – would likely be the dominant source of internet services in 2036.
Southern Cross University is already pushing hard to get the NSW North Coast to the front of the queue for the new infrastructure, lodging a submission with the government-owned company, NBN Co, responsible for rolling out the new network.
That submission spruiks the North Coast as a region able to quickly and easily show off the benefits of the National Broadband Network and warns that leaving the region at the end off the line would ‘result in a lost decade of opportunity’.
The submission points to major benefits in areas such as healthcare, where local doctors would be able to consult with specialists in other parts of Australia over high definition video connections.
In education, the submission points to the potential growth of online learning for students at the university, North Coast Institute of TAFE and theByron Bay-based School ofAudio Engineering.
The submission points to Mememe Productions, the local company behind the hit kids’ TV show dirtgirlworld and local documentary-maker Pandanas Media, as businesses that already rely heavily on the web to do their work and would be able to expand with improved internet speeds.