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    The Digital Divide is only one of many divides that have seamlessly woven itself into the fabric of society. We don’t fear/critique the opening of more and better quality schools in urban settings even though remote and rural schooling is a major issue. There isnt a “Eduation Divide” discussion as biased as the “Digital Divide” subject.

    If we cant improve remote and rural services sooner, the least the NBN can do is to improve and free up services so they can be available to access the ‘hardly reached’ in complex geographical settings.

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    e8.. You’re right about the urban/regional divide, and the sad thing is that it used to be significantly smaller. In the last decade, services have been gutted in rural and regional areas. My regional area, for example used to have excellent education and health services. Forced closure and merging of successful schools, let alone cuts in staffing and ever-increasing demands, have placed enormous strain on our educational system. Students inevitably miss out. Our local hospitals have been cut to the bone: need have a baby or get emergency treatment? Travel to another town. It took me more than three months to get a GP appointment, and those programs for chronic illness? There’s no staff to run them. Domiciliary Care is overloaded and underfunded, with no coverage for disabled people.

    On the connectivity issue, it is a huge help (in many cases, literally a life-saver) to have access to the Internet when you are isolated by distance, language or disability. As a severely disabled person living in the country, I strongly suggest the government do the same thing as it’s doing with digital TV: target the people who are most likely to need the help, and offer it. The Opposition will spin and splutter, but that’s all they do. Get the help to those who need it.

    A photographer did a study of the avatars people choose online, and placed them next to the real people. One showed a huge space warrior in armour, next to a tiny, wasted nine-year-old quadriplegic. The kid had a huge grin.


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