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Federal Budget: NBN upgrades flagged as farmers demand IoT

March 23, 2022

Federal Budget: NBN upgrades flagged as farmers demand IoT

The Federal Government has pledged almost $500 million to improve internet connectivity in regional Australia as farmers increasingly adopt Internet of Things solutions to improve productivity.

The Federal Government has pledged almost $500 million to improve internet connectivity in regional Australia as farmers increasingly adopt Internet of Things solutions to improve productivity.

On Tuesday, Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher announced $480 million will be set aside in the upcoming Federal Budget for upgrades to NBN infrastructure outside urban areas.

“By using the latest 4G and 5G wireless technology, this upgrade will extend the coverage range from a tower, and allow higher speed services to everyone served by the tower,” he said. 

“This means more people can be served by NBN fixed wireless; it means higher speed services on the NBN fixed wireless network; and it means higher amounts of data can be used by households and business customers.

“The upgrade will expand the fixed wireless footprint coverage by up to 50%, enabling 120,000 additional premises to access fixed wireless services instead of Sky Muster satellite services.”

The money will be provided as part of a $750 million upgrade program, with the remaining $270 million coming directly from NBN Co’s coffers.

Growing demand for data

These upgrades were first recommended by the 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review final report, A Step Change in Demand.

That report noted regional agriculture and manufacturing industries are “increasingly using IoT-connected devices” to analyse their operations, improve productivity and increasingly manage their regulatory compliance obligations.

“Appropriate connectivity options, including several emerging technologies, are necessary to deliver the potential productivity gains from the increased use of data in regional economic sectors,” the report said.

“However, it is clear to the committee that the increasing demand for data in regional, rural and remote Australia is not always being adequately met. 

“This is due to the constrained connectivity options available to consumers and businesses in these areas, both in terms of the capacity of the infrastructure and service options provided.”

The congestion issues and lack of reliable connectivity have instead weighed on regional businesses’ ability to utilise these technologies, the report said.

Sources:


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