Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Rural broadband surge for Farmside

Vodafone's rural broadband unit Farmside says a wave of new customers joined immediately after June 1. That's Moving Day in the dairy farming calendar. The day when farmers traditionally move equipment, stock and people to new farms.

Farmside general manager Jason Sharp says the business has now passed 15,000 customers. Most connect via RBI fixed wireless but many Farmside customers have fibre or satellite connections.

Sharp says Farmside saw a 74 percent increase in the amount of data used by RBI customers and a 35 percent increase in satellite data during Covid-19 lockdown levels 3 and 4.

Farmside says it was able to continue connecting remote customers during lockdown and prioritised work for those who needed a physical installation.

Pandemic changed rural broadband


Earlier this year Sharp noted that pandemic had a huge effect on rural broadband.

He says: "As I reflect back on what was an incredibly busy period, it was also a turning point for rural communities forced to go online in ways never experienced before. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to achieve. I also see lots of opportunity for the future of the internet in the country.

“In the past month we’ve seen stock auctions go online, our major agriculture exhibition become the Fieldays Online event and online discussion groups replace face to face gatherings. This comes with a broader reach in terms of markets – but also relies on good internet connectivity so that parts of the country aren’t left behind."

Rural broadband challenge


That's the challenge facing rural internet providers like Farmside. Despite continued government investment in infrastructure, the fixed wireless broadband technology used for most rural connections was never intended for the kind of intense use that has become an everyday fact of life.

When RBI was first planned about 12 years ago, the idea of streaming Netflix or interactive games to farms and other remote locations wasn't in anyone's sights.  And that's before we get to streaming the Rugby World Cup.

At the time fixed wireless broadband looked more than adequate for most rural business applications. Since then the amount of data used to run a farm has exploded.

Sharp says: "... satellite connections have become even more important for those who aren’t within the 35km range of rural wireless broadband – or because the landscape renders line of sight to a cell tower impossible."

New satellite options are coming online which should improve matters for the most remote users. And there are potential upgrades for fixed wireless that can improve data speeds and allow for larger data caps. Yet the best way to level the playing field for rural broadband customers would be to extend the reach of fibre networks further into the bush.

Rural broadband surge for Farmside was first posted at billbennett.co.nz.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Media Collusion With National’s Attack Lines

For most of the past week, any consumer of this country’s management of Covid-19 would think New Zealand was actually Brazil, or Texas. The media language has been full of claims of “botches” at the border, and laxness and inexcusable errors ... More>>

Gregor Thompson: Don’t Be Too Pessimistic About New Zealand’s Future.

With the first hurdle hopped our Government will be turning its attention to trying to soften the economic damage this pandemic has on our little archipelago. More>>

Eric Zuesse: U.S. Empire: Biden And Kerry Gave Orders To Ukraine’s President

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at Strategic Culture On May 19th, an implicit international political warning was issued, but it wasn’t issued between countries; it was issued between allied versus opposed factions within each of two countries: U.S. and Ukraine. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Budget Cockups In The Time Of Coronavirus: Reporting Errors And Australia’s JobKeeper Scheme

Hell has, in its raging fires, ringside seats for those who like their spreadsheets. The seating, already peopled by those from human resources, white collar criminals and accountants, becomes toastier for those who make errors with those spreadsheets. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Welcome Deaths: Coronavirus And The Open Plan Office

For anybody familiar with that gruesome manifestation of the modern work place, namely the open plan office, the advent of coronavirus might be something of a relief. The prospects for infection in such spaces is simply too great. You are at risk from ... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Why Thinking Makes It So: Donald Trump’s Obamagate Fixation

The “gate” suffix has been wearing thin since the break-in scandal that gave it its birth. Since Watergate, virtually anything dubious and suggestive, and much more besides, is suffixed. Which brings us to the issue of President Donald Trump’s ... More>>



Binoy Kampmark: Brutal Choices: Anders Tegnell And Sweden’s Herd Immunity Goal

If the title of epidemiological czar were to be created, its first occupant would have to be Sweden’s Anders Tegnell. He has held sway in the face of sceptics and concern that his “herd immunity” approach to COVID-19 is a dangerous, and breathtakingly ... More>>