An announcement of increased rural broadband and mobile coverage has been welcomed by the sector organisations, but they say more is needed.
These are just a couple of the key trends presented by TUANZ chief executive, Craig Young, at a recent forestry technology series.
It also presents a very real challenge for the rural sector. While 23% of New Zealand's businesses are rural-based, there are still many without good access to the internet. Over 13% of our rural population has no internet access at all.
But internet access is only part of the issue. Young says it appears that disinterest and high costs are the biggest barriers to internet uptake in the rural sector.
Technology investment into the sector is providing a new wave of mobile productivity tools available to our farmers, horticulturists and foresters. The trouble is that much of this potential is reliant on having good access to the internet.
The Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) is a major Government programme tackling this very issue. In a recent press release the Communications Minister Amy Adams says, "We've got a bold 2025 target of 99% of New Zealanders able to access peak speeds of at least 50 Mbps". An additional $100 million has been injected into the RBI and $50 million to improve the mobile coverage in block spot areas.
A fast and reliable connection will provide significant economic benefits for the rural sector.
Increasing innovation through connectivity within the primary sector is the key focus of an upcoming industry event that has been set up for this country's primary industries — MobileTECH 2016 on 30-31 March in Rotorua.