Our Information State Highway

We have some friends from the UK staying with us at the moment, so I’m in the habit of making excuses for our infrastructure.

To anybody who has driven on the motorways overseas what we call “State Highway 1” is a bit of a joke.

Seriously … one winding lane each way with no median barrier?

And where are all of the cars?

Likewise, what we call broadband really isn’t.

The international speakers who were here for Webstock last week were too polite to complain about it in front of us, but you can tell what they really thought by reading their twitters.

How embarrassing.

Full credit to Jeremy Wells from one of his ‘Unauthorised History of New Zealand’ episodes for the title of this post.

6 thoughts on “Our Information State Highway”

  1. Since we’re talking about it, here are some comments from Phil Fierlinger about the wi-fi at Webstock:

    “Another serious downer was the Wifi situation. It was utterly disgraceful and humiliating to watch so many prominent visitors from across the globe unable to get a working internet connection. At a web conference. It’s like having a world conference on electricity and we don’t have enough power to keep the lights on. How bad does it need to get in this city and in this country before internet connectivity becomes an angry-mob-inducing crisis? (as I’m writing this my TelstraClear connection has been down for hours – now’s good, huh?)”

    Natstock 08

  2. I have always found it absolutely hilarious that we have traffic lights on our “motorways” … :-)

    And yes, the state of our internet infrastructure is more than sad. I feel I’m missing out big time on civilisation since I moved here.

  3. I can tell you that the internet supply in wlg is phenomenal to the availability just a couple of hours up the road near wanganui. My service drops out on average 4-5 times a day and Im lucky to get 5.0kbs download.Having moved from wlg where i had a cable connection, its like going back in time. Most european vistors I had in wlg were impressed by the internet supply, but amused at our capped rates.

  4. I drove all the way down from Auckland. A good excuse for a look around the north island I thought (having been away overseas a few years).

    And man, SH1 has hardly changed in 20 years – well at least it sure feels that way. Sharing a single often bumpy lane with trucks and buses, no median barrier to protect you from oncoming suicide passing manouvers and numerous traffic lighs and 50km sections driving through small town rural main streets.

    This is not to mention the classic turn-off’s that you have to look-out for vigilantly to even stay ON the main highway 1.

    Tourists might think it’s cute and oh so bucolic. Locals might tell you that we’re only a small country and that there just isn’t enough money for big fancy highway’s like they have in the USA.

    Reality check – it is 2008. New Zealand is the ONLY OECD country I can think of that has no serious highway connecting the primate cities. It’s not cute, it’s just plain labourious.

    And on the topic of broadband. When you are a physically isolated country, one would think investing in technology to reduce distance would be a top priority for a nations development – not an after-thought.

    After returning from 4 months driving around Mexico it really hits home. They have MUCH BETTER broadband speeds and availability in provincial areas and the roads are MUCH MUCH better also. Admittedly many of these are super toll roads, but at least there you have the option.

    Who would have thought NZ with a manageable 4 million semi-affluent tax-payers could fall so behind a latin american country with a 110 million people (of which 20% are in extreme poverty)?

    But on a positive note, WebStock was world-class and worth every minute of the drive down. I loved every minute of it.

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