Minister for Regional Development, Alannah MacTiernan, turned on a wireless telecommunications tower in WA’s Mid-West last Friday, July 26.
The tower, in Eneabba, is a part of a new wireless network which will enable farmers to adopt Internet of Things (IoT) technologies on their farms, and forms part of the state government’s Digital Farm Program.
The shires of Irwin, Mingenew, Three Springs, and Chapman Valley are now connected to high speed broadband services, and the network will expand to include shires including Coorow, Carnamah, Morawa, Perenjori, Northampton, and some parts of the City of Greater Geraldton.
LogicIT Solutions, based in Geraldton, is the contracted provider of this network and is utilising local labour and services. Local governments and grower groups and supporting the project through financial contributions.
“Local company LogicIT Solutions is delivering speeds ten times faster than what was previously available, with a greater bandwidth – and they’re delivering ahead of schedule,” said MacTiernan.
Node1 Internet will provide retail services for farmers.
The Digital Farm project is a $5 million project of the state government to increase the digital capacity of agricultural and rural areas. The Mid-West section of the project is financed by $1m from this funding along with the contributions of LogicIT and local groups.
While the speeds of the National Broadband Network (NBN) have been promised to bring about digital connectivity for the nation, that promise has yet to be delivered to farmers in WA. This project seeks to bridge that divide and ensure that farmers can access IoT technologies to increase yields and productivities while expanding the market for digitally enabled agricultural devices in the domestic economy.
“Farmers need enterprise-grade broadband to stay competitive in a 21st century global market, and the NBN simply hasn’t delivered the connectivity our agricultural sector needs,” said MacTiernan.