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Communication breakdown


Communication breakdown

Ashley Robinson reminds us that even though recent crashes by a certain telco giant felt like the end of the world for some of us, it wasn’t.

Earlier in the month, Optus went down again – much to the despair of their customers – and I am not sure what word was used most: outage or outrage.

Optus hasn’t had much luck of late, with two big crashes in a short period of time. I must say, I really feel for
their business customers. It must have been devastating. It does bring to mind how dependant we have become on mobile phones and the internet, to the point of that being a very unhealthy reliance. People just freak out when something like this happens.

Just ask Old Mate about me and mobiles. If my mobile plays up or I misplace it, she reckons it’s like I have lost a child at worst and a limb at best. I remember when we first started getting emails on our phones. I thought it was fantastic. But now I have had to force myself not to read them after dark so I don’t stress all night.

As I get older, I am not as bad. Hey, I’m not a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon (Old Mate agrees). So, if people can’t contact me, it doesn’t really matter.

What a simple life I had in the telecommunications field growing up. My mum Edna used to work at the post office telephone exchange. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, back in the day in Eudlo and Palmwoods, to make a call you would wind the handle on your phone at home and it would ring the exchange (mum) and you would ask to be put through to whatever number you wanted and she would plug you in.

We were 45 – that was our phone number. Can you believe it? Of course, anyone who worked at the exchange had a fair idea of what was going on around town, as all the calls had to come through them (which probably impacted the sale of newspapers). Back in those days, people had face-to-face conversations, they wrote letters, they sent postcards when they were on holiday. Nowadays, if we can’t text each other while sitting in the same room or send a holiday photo via any number of different carriers, we are outraged about the outage.

A famous person, well before mobile phones, said: “Communication is like oxygen – without it, you die.” Let’s not blame Optus for everything. Maybe we can all start talking to each other in person.

Wow, there’s an idea for 2024.


Ashley Robinson is the manager of Alex Surf Club and the chairman of the Sunshine Coast Falcons.

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