The world hasn’t always been the way it currently is. It wasn’t always so fast paced, and it wasn’t always so convenient. It seems hard to believe, even for me, that there was a time before everyone had an email address, a Facebook account and an iPhone in their pocket.
The first major development was the arrival of the internet. While it technically arrived in New Zealand for university students, it wasn’t until somewhere between 1996 and 2001 that internet usage went from being relatively rare to a normalised part of everyday life. This was dial up internet meaning it was slow, unreliable and you couldn’t speak on the phone if somebody was using it!
It’s strange to think that the White House, a building that holds some importance in the world, was not connected to the internet until 1994. Our own Parliament, where I was working at the time for the then Prime Minister Jim Bolger was yet to be connected in 1996.
In the late nineties things started to evolve faster with the arrival of Google in 1998, broadband in 1999, and iTunes in 2003. Gmail took email mainstream in 2004, Youtube arrived in 2005 and then Facebook revolutionised communication and online community in 2006. All of this before the first iPhone was released in mid-2007.
Although we are now living in a relatively technologically advanced world and country, it’s important that we continue to strive for improvement. We can’t be complacent. We must explore and innovate – you never know what innovation lies just around the corner.
This is why I’m proud to be a part of a National Government that is investing in internet infrastructure. Our latest package sees a further $300 million invested to expand Ultra-Fast Broadband to even more people. Our target is to have 99% of New Zealanders connected to UFB by 2025 and we are well on track.