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    Busuttil David

    This is a very interest article.

    I work for a Remote Area Aboriginal Health Organisation.

    I believe the NBN will actually increase the divide further. Where the majority of Australians will have access to fibre to the premises, those who live in very remote regions will have to put up with the inferior satellite. Many of the are Aboriginal Australians who have more to gain than most from e-health.

    In addition, existing ADSL connections can actually be taken away 10 years after the satellite is launched. So we could end up with inferior connections to what we currently have.

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    ron batagol

    The issue raised is one of the most critically important ones, not only in the health arena but, as alluded to by these commentators, in rapidly-emerging 21st century lifestyle, communication changes and more, and in modes of accessing and reaching out for external assistance and day-to-day interaction in every area of daily life.. Frankly, despite the optimism of Croakey and others, I’m not too sure that we can effectively and willingly “bring across” those who are on the other side of the digital divide, any time soon, without some basic and obvious changes . However, I do agree it can only be achieved with a two-way understanding and empathy towards those who, for whatever reasons, are “digital media/communication disadvantaged”. Unfortunately, at present we frequently seem to think that erecting roadblocks rather than bridges will somehow force them to join us in the emerging digital revolution. Just two or three examples of these roadblocks could be very easily addressed. For instance, which management rocket scientist convinced the business world at-large that eliminating the lowest paid people in organisations, namely those who used to direct phone calls to the appropriate departments, in favour of multiple arbitrarily structured numeric phone options , would improve efficiency, increase sales and, most importantly, promote customer satisfaction? It is the exception rather than the rule, to come across a Website (especially with regard to events) where someone is actually allocated to, and routinely performs, the simple task of removing obsolete notifications to make it easier to search?(eg.details for “forthcoming” 2009 and 2010 Melbourne Grand Prix are still on their Website- just one of countless examples!!)

    Finally, in every cafe and coffee shop each and every day, the “digitally disadvantaged” see people supposedly enjoying each others’ company, with their backs turned, talking to another person on their mobiles. Yes, it may sometimes be business, but mostly, purely social and, frankly, just very bad manners!!

    And yet we expect the disadvantaged and uninitiated to willingly embrace the new technology? We need to think a lot more about reviewing the basic structure, functions, courtesy “rules” and user-friendliness of the “new age systems” that we are developing.

    At the end of the day, people, from time immemorial, have, and I suggest always will, crave for and embrace human one-to-one interaction as a preferred choice, whether it’s medical needs, social interaction, or business requirements. Because, guess what? It makes them feel important and personally empowed. The trick is how we can incorporate this basic human need into our emerging communication developments in the future, so as to encourage those who have not yet become part of the new communication revolution to learn to use and it and find out about what this wonderful new world can do for them, rather than “force them to get online” as has been suggested!

    And I express these concerns from a standpoint of an “oldie” who embraces and uses all of the vast range armoury of the wonderful technological revolution that we have created each and every day! . BUT, most importantly, for me, it’s always a tool, not a master!! That’s as it should be!

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