Is the Premier’s home page worth $1.50 to visit?

The site of the Western Australian Premier is one of the alarming number of websites that are built just for broadband users, while ignoring those on dialup or those on expensive mobile broadband networks. The home page in question weighs in at over hefty 750kb. Which is fine for business and home users with decent broadband, but not everybody has access to fast and cheap broadband in Western Australia.

I am not just talking about outback Western Australia here, there are a number of what the Federal Minister for Broadband Stephen Conroy calls broadband blackspots areas in metropolitan areas of major cities in Australia. You just need to visit Whirlpool broadband forums to see this is a common problem. If you are not in an outlying suburb, you have an alternative in relatively inexpensive mobile broadband from providers like Three, Vodafone or even Optus. If you are unfortunate to live in a broadband blackspot in an outer metropolitan areas, like certain suburbs in and around Rockingham, a few kilometres from my house. Your choices are restricted to:

  • Dialup and that is usually 28.8k, taking 5 minutes or longer to open the Premier’s home page;
  • Telstra Next G network, you get very fast mobile broadband but at a cost, over $300 for a modem and at the casual download rate of $2.00 a Mb, hence the post title; or
  • Get Mobile Broadband through Optus or Vodafone and use their 2G network, for a stunning maximum speed of 128k and a two year contract.

And if you live in regional Western Australia, you don’t even get the choice. It is dialup or Telstra and their prices. I will be using their $2.00 a Mb as a response, when people ask to put large graphics or PDFs on a site.

If you are building a website aimed at businesses in Perth, you can build heavy sites just for broadband. But if you want to reach all Western Australians, which you would expect with a site like the West Australian Premier, you need to cater for the small but significant number of people who can not get or afford broadband.

2 Responses to “Is the Premier’s home page worth $1.50 to visit?”

  1. Ben Winter-Giles Says:

    This is entirely true, I wrote something similar not long ago, and back in the 90’s *cue flashback* we used to go into blind panics when the single page weights exceeded 100kb. Now, header graphics burst that routinely, and to my eye, for not a lot of gain.

    I do honestly believe that like our now bloated windows operating systems, (cough cough vista) that we as a mass seem to have forgotten some of the roots of our craft. And with the advent of mobile computing, and a seemingly stagnant ‘price war’ in Australia on internet costs (vs the rest of the world) the user need for just keeping in mind the page size is just getting higher and higher.

  2. Russo Says:

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