Tuesday, 16 June 2015 15:54

Better connections promised

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Faster internet is helping Waikato dairy farmers to manage their businesses on mobile phones. Spark New Zealand recently deployed 4G via the 700MHz radio spectrum on its Hangatiki site. 

Waikato region trials of the 700MHz spectrum began in April last year. Trials started in Morrinsville and 106 sites have 4G on 700MHz in Waikato. (Other regions have 44 sites with 4G.) 

At least 60% of smartphones and some tablets usable on the Spark mobile network can now run on the 700MHz spectrum, easing access to 4G services to share, upload, download and stream content fast and reliably. 

Morrinsville dairy farmer Bruce Thomas says over the past 12 months access to fast 4G speeds have given him confidence to do more on mobile. “4G… fast speed has given me the confidence to download and experiment with new mobile apps and software to make our lives easier on our farm.”

“In the past I didn’t bother with these apps, thinking they might be waste of time with the type of connectivity we had, but it’s a different story now.”

Thomas says he and his sharemilker use many of the apps to do things faster. 

“We regularly use the Minda Lookup app for real-time access to LIC’s data on your herd. It quickly allows you to identify the animal on the spot and check stats like health and ancestry…. This saves me trekking back to the house to log on to the home computer.”

Spark last year bought four lots of the 700MHz spectrum. The 4G system will extend over NZ during the next three years. 

Spark Connect’s networks general manager, Colin Brown, says the more spectrum a provider owns, the more capacity it has to carry data at faster speeds on the network, even at busy times.

 “We invested $158 million to secure four lanes of the 700MHz spectrum ‘highway’…. By adding more 4G lanes we’re adding a whole lot more capacity to our mobile network.

 “Agribusiness customers can take advantage of new technologies like Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications to do things like monitor soil and rainfall levels or track herd movements.  

“M2M technology makes the process of recording, storing and uploading key data to the likes of the Cloud faster, raising productivity and saving cost.” 

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