SOME new friends have been made over the past month.
They are friends this writer will probably never meet face to face, and some might even suggest the term "friends" is a tad broad.
Their names are Sharee, Gureep, Consuela, Ahmed, Talish, Steven, Dan and the very helpful, Ludy.
They are the names so far. There is the very high possibility there could be more added to this list.
These are the names of the Telstra call centre workers or "technicians" spoken to over a fortnight period in trying to get an internet connection problem sorted.
They are referred to as friends because there is no point being hostile to them over the phone.
They are cogs in a bigger machine which just happens to be the largest telecommunications company in Australia.
The issue at hand is slow internet. Not just sluggish, but slow.
Without getting too technical, there are different options for connecting to the internet.
There was dial-up, then ADSL, then ADSL2+, and then cable, fibre optics, and so forth, getting incrementally faster.
To put that in perspective, the local free wifi at the public library has a speed of about 20Mbps, and at "head office" in Sydney, a colleague reported a reading of 109Mbps.
This little black duck's speed test regularly comes in at a whopping 1.5Mbps. (Yes, that decimal point is in the right spot.)
Upon doing some investigations it was found that for the past four years, this magazine has been produced using ADSL, regarded as perhaps the slowest connection these days, when the phone bill clearly states it should have been upgraded to ADSL2+ in 2013.
And so began the roundabout of calls, call-backs, testing, re-testing and numerous follow-ups to try and get a resolution.
At present, the wait continues with a technician being required to make a change at the exchange.
The whole scenario has highlighted how frustrating telecommunications is in regional Australia.
This is a mild example compared to those in remote areas without reliable phone coverage to ring-up and get changes made.
It's no wonder rural residents are getting tech-savvy and taking it upon themselves to build their own towers and wireless networks.
Recent falters with the NBN indicate the disarray happening within the area Down Under.
Surely residents, businesses, students, medical staff, farmers and everybody else deserve more than this?
Putting a magazine together is not a life-threatening scenario but in some cases, reliable communication infrastructure could be the difference between life and death.
Hopefully the various governments and businesses involved will get their acts together before it comes to that.