THE irony of being unable to use professional development tools specially designed to overcome the tyranny of distance, thanks to inadequate Internet services, is not lost on new Barcaldine doctor Joe Farrell.
He moved from Cloncurry with his wife and four children because Barcaldine offered an opportunity to school their children locally rather than send them away, and was shocked to be told they couldn’t access an ADSL landline service.
As well, the Farrells are only able to use half of their existing Telstra home bundle, which includes phone and Internet plans.
They have bought an expensive 3G mobile plan in order to have some Internet at home, and so are paying for two Internet services, only one of which they can use.
“We have to keep paying for the bundle or we lose our place in the queue on the waiting list, we’ve been told,” Dr Farrell said.
“Telstra said we have to keep paying until we get access, then they’ll credit our account.”
Telstra has brought its upgrade of the Barcaldine exchange forward to October.
Commitments to ongoing professional development means that Dr Farrell needs an uninterrupted block of time to study, which he would normally do at home at night.
The 3G service he is using at present is clogged up at peak times in the evening and graphics are slow to load.
“The modules have been designed to overcome the tyranny of distance, with plenty of graphic-rich content,” he said.
“It’s all based around delivery via the Internet – it’s quite ironic really.”
Dr Farrell said the sad thing about it was that it wasn’t just himself and his family having trouble but was something affecting many in Barcaldine.
“I don’t know how you would attract new business in conditions like this,” he said.