Farmers who live outside the township of Moree will now have access to faster broadband speeds and better internet connectivity, after the Red Mill Tower was unveiled on Friday.
“Any farmer who lives within an 18 kilometre radius of the tower will be able to access better and faster internet,” Field Solutions Group regional project manager Ryan Ahern said.
The official opening marked the completion of Stage One of the Moree Rural East Connectivity Project, a Field Solutions Group initiative to improve internet connectivity in Moree Plains Shire.
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The telecommunication towers deliver independent, non-NBN fixed wireless internet to homes and businesses that previously had to rely on satellite services to access the internet.
“The NBN is a vote-payer service that only covers connection for people living in town,” Mr Ahern said.
“If someone lives two kilometres outside of town or even past Greenbah, they have to rely on the 4G network,” Mr Ahern said.
He noted that farmers had to rely on the Sky Muster Satellite for internet connectivity. The less reliable form of connectivity made it difficult for them to maintain their agribusiness.
“One farmer who lives near the tower has to wake up at 3am so she can connect to the 4G network so she can pay her employees on time,” Mr Ahern said.
The data capability of the internet tower provides holistic support to the agribusiness and extends to the paddock with tractors, headers and pickers. But Mr Ahern pointed out it also went beyond the realm of farming business.
“The farmer also has two daughters. One of them is studying for the HSC, so she relies on the internet to access information and complete her school studies. The data is important for farming and family life.”
Field Solutions Group CEO Andrew Roberts said he understood how critical connectivity in regional Australia was, especially for farmers.
“This is the first tower we have built outside of Moree. It is our vision to connect rural towns and businesses, particularly agribusinesses. We want to go where the NBN isn’t—we want to end the data drought in rural, regional and remote areas.”
He said the tower was one of many steps in Moree to ensure a future of internet reliability.
“We understand how critical connectivity is to catalysing innovation and economic development in rural, regional and remote areas and we are ready to step-up and be part of the solution.”
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall was on hand to help cut the ribbon on the day.
“It’s a story that doesn’t get told too often.
“Those who have tried to work with the [Sky Muster Satellite], let alone, conduct business, have found that it’s just not possible.
“What Field Solutions Group is offering is brilliant. They help to bridge the gap that has been left by the NBN and makes sure whether you’re in town or 80 kms outside of Moree, you can get access to high speed, fast broadband.”
With the tower at Moree now fully operational, Field Solutions Group looks to expand its projects with the NSW and QLD governments: it has already lined up plans with a further 11 local governments in the state.