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Survey underlines rural connectivity frustration

Plenty of rural folk have jumped at the chance to respond to a Federated Farmers survey on the quality of telecommunications connectivity out in the provinces.

There were close to 500 responses within 24 hours of the launch of the survey.

"It’s hardly surprising because we know from member feedback that broadband and mobile blackspots cause considerable frustration," Federated Farmers Vice-President Andrew Hoggard says.

"Technology is a huge and increasing facet of modern farming. If the apps and programmes on farmers’ digital devices drop out or run at crawl-speeds, they simply can’t run their businesses efficiently."

With the impending roll out of the Rural Broadband Initiative Phase Two and Mobile Black Spot Fund, the Federated Farmers survey is about gaining an up-to-date understanding of coverage and connectivity standards in rural areas around the nation.

"The intention is to run this survey every year," Andrew says. "The beauty of the system we are using is that we will be able to also map survey responses year on year, meaning we can show over time where the situation is improving or where it is getting worse."

The survey closes on the evening of Monday June 4. Responses as at Thursday morning showed:

• 36% of respondents said their farm phone coverage is less than 25%

• 14.6% rated their landline coverage as poor

• 52% have a data cap of less than 100gb per month

• Only 2.3% don’t have internet with 24.6% still on copper line broadband and 46.6% using wireless broadband

• 7.9% exceed their data cap often

And for anyone who doubted farmers were big users of digital technology, 96% of respondents have mobile phones (84% of them smartphones). Just under 60% said they use apps to aid in their farm business and these were across the agriculture sectors. Dairy farmers comprise 39% of respondents to date.

The Federation welcomes participation for members and non-members, Andrew says.

The survey link is https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/a09e7cdf97874d85b722169fc6649d4f

Get in touch via 0800 327 646 if you are unable to do complete the survey online.


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