The are problems with communications in rural areas that
are unique, and interesting to try and overcome.
In 1990, Telecom/Telstra wanted $1450, the maximum they could then
charge, to connect the phone. No thank you. But then some
months later, Telecom
wanted to run the second Melbourne
to Sydney optical fibre trunk cable through the front
paddock. I finally had some leverage!
It turned out there was an arrangement where Telstra
provide the cable if you lay it, and charge the standard
city installation fee of $250. Neighbour Mick Gardiner used his
bulldozer to clear the required 500 metre path for the phone
cable. Telstra then came and laid out 500 metres of 10-pair
cable. Another neighbour, Martin Grimwade, lent us his large
4WD tractor with pipe layer so that Mick and I could put the
cable in the ground. Telstra came back out and hooked it all up.
A Panasonic KX-FC175 plain paper fax, answering machine and
long-range wireless telephone was
used to answer the phone when I wasn't home, plus provide
roaming phone access around the place.
Unfortunately, accessing the Internet from home was not always
productive exercise. As with many rural properties, it is
typical to only get a 28.8K baud dial-up data connection from
What made this lack of high-speed communication
even more frustrating, was knowing that the second Melbourne
to Sydney optical fibre trunk cable ran through the front
paddock just a few hundred metres away. Oh to be able to tap into that!
128K ISDN eventually became an available option. I ordered
an ISDN connection in September 2002, and it was finally
connected in March 2003.
A neighbour just a few miles up the road installed a
satellite broadband connection to the Internet. And with ADSL 2+ now being rolled out
across the nation, its extended reach may make it a cheaper,
high-speed communications option.
When it came time to install the TV back in 1990, there were some interesting
options. Being on the outer limits of the Melbourne city
coverage area meant that a properly installed aerial array
pull in both the city and country channels. Thus a
complicated array of VHF, UHF
and FM aerials was installed on
the eastern side of the house, together with appropriate
couplers and a masthead amplifier. It even worked!
The aerial array later put in place was a somewhat simpler
affair making use of the improved UHF local coverage. It was
put in place when fixing the damage done by the parrots,
galahs and cockatoos
that come and visit. Those birds just love to chew on
On the western side of the house a solitary UHF aerial
stood proudly erect. The UHF CB radio provided an emergency
backup communications path should the phone line ever be cut
aerial array (January 2003)
It was possible to obtain pay TV via a satellite
dish and decoder, but I just didn't need it. The penetration
of pay TV in rural areas was even lower than in suburbia.
Maybe it has something to do with us having more interesting
stuff to do outside, enjoying the environment we are in.
Monday, 01 April 2013