Remember the old days of dial-up when you had to wait for the internet to do its thing and for the page to load? And when the gates to the information superhighway finally swept open, you were transported into this new frontier of human connection. But then – and even before you had time to do a high-five – the connection dropped out, the gates slammed shut and you found yourself being pulled back into the abyss.
The simple reality is, that for some FIFO workers living on remote sites, it’s like being stuck in a nineties time-warp. In fact the lack of access to reliable communications may contribute to isolation, loneliness and declining mental health within those communities.
In June 2015 the Western Australia Education and Health Standing Committee released its final report ‘The impact of FIFO work practices on mental health’. The Committee was established to investigate concerns regarding the impact of FIFO operations on workers’ mental health and suicide. The Committee put forward 42 findings and made 30 recommendations. One of the recommendations (Nov 16) was for ‘high quality, reliable and accessible communications technology’ to be made available in FIFO accommodation villages.
We take for granted the availability of high speed internet, Wi-Fi and the seamless connectivity our smartphones and mobile devices allow. We Skype, Facetime, watch Netflix and cat videos on You Tube while texting, messaging and pinging our friends on Facebook.
FIFO workers are no different.
What is different however is the connectivity available in the accommodation sites they return to at the end of their shifts, along with the narrow window of opportunity to make contact with those back home. Calling home, speaking with the kids or relaxing to watch a movie online is often disrupted because of inadequate bandwidth on the site. The systems can’t cope with the demand at peak times so calls cut out, contact is cut off and movies curtailed. The freedom to talk to family and friends and the benefits to mental health of doing so, can literally be life-saving.
This above scenario would not be acceptable to the vast majority of Australians and it shouldn’t be for FIFO workers. It’s about having a quality communications systems for FIFO workers to ensure everyone can use the system at the same time, without drop outs. Not about having a system just to tick a box. And unfortunately, this happens.
March IT understands the difference access to reliable high speed internet and guaranteed connectivity can make. This is what we do. So if you experience constant drop outs, lagging or wait until the middle of the night to use your internet connection in a FIFO village, then call or email us today. 1300 627 244 or firstname.lastname@example.org