This past week I took a quick trip to Okains Bay and camped over night with friends in my tent.
I found myself 'off the grid', which is a place I don't like to be. On getting to the camp ground I did a scan to see if there was any wifi, but there wasn't.
Friends had been traveling to the top of the hill each day to check messages, about 10 minutes away.
RBI I understand has improved things, but I was still off grid just 90 minutes from home in a very popular camping ground.
From an economic point of view, this isn't good. It resulted in my only staying one night, where I might have stayed a week.
But pondering the issues, I realised that there are lots of people missing out because 'we' are just 'off gird' at a time when a bunch of 'you' want 'us' on grid.
Dear Mr TradeMe,
There was a number of auctions I didn't take part in. What's more, I was sitting about reading books and just drinking coffee, while I rested, at a time when I might have been spending more time browsing your platform that I might normally.
Dear Mr Facebook,
I really should be advertising on your platform for my business, but I'm not. This would have been a golden time for me to be reading up on such things while I relax.... but I also took a truck load of snaps that just never made it to your web site.
Dear Mr BP,
Mr Facebooks lack of having my photos mean no one knew where I was and some people were worried because I'd forgotten to tell some people, but more importantly to you, there were others, who knowing where I was, may well have jumped in their cars and joined me for the night. My lack of connectivity also means I'm less likely to travel back out there.
Dear Mr BMW,
As my current 'preferred' vehicle manufacture you should care most about the miles I put on my car, because the sooner I run that puppy into the ground the harder I work to earn money to come buy a new one off you (or another used one of someone else who's buying a new one off you... I confess I've only purchased two brand new cars this life time, not all 9 that I've owned).
You also care about my not having access to Mr Google because he's also the one who normally tells me interesting random stuff about other things I can explore while I'm out and about.
Dear Mr Google,
Well my friend I really don't know where to start with you?! I did download my maps so that your map program would work. That was helpful! Thank you for that feature. But when I'm relaxing I like to look up stuff and do some learning and instead I had to listen to all kinds of random crap that friends dribbled on about.
Ok so you get my point. Having people disconnect from the grid isn't good for economic activity in todays connected age. I could have spent my week working out there in the region but my lack of connectivity meant I had to come home. That means I don't use that time to form important potential relationships.
We talk about Aucklands problems and how people don't want to live outside of Auckland, well here's why.
So my question to you readers is 'how do we fix this?'
My first answer is to talk about the problems and who I think should be motivated to help us do the job. My second thinking is to talk about technology and who should fund it.
Currently I'm wondering more and more about this LTE technology that runs in the 5Ghz wifi space. I'm also wondering more and more about how we get smaller, low cost cell solutions like Femtocells in to our networks without being bound by the larger telcos who don't seem, to me, to be interested in fixing these small problems without getting massive multi million dollar hand backs from central government.
At present I feel like we have market failure and I'm keen to discuss.