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Rural Sector
May 3, 2012
11:46 am
Forum Posts: 82
Member Since:
February 7, 2011

A suggested topic from Richard Li at Beef + Lamb New Zealand:

Recent history of the rural sector has seen a serious gap in the information systems. Poor information and analysis have led to poor confidence in the sector. The fast internet will be an important tool in getting information to farmers. It will allow a greater connection between farmers, the wider industry and all interest groups.

On the other hand, although the rollout of RBI has started, there are still large areas of rural users won’t get access to the benefits in a short term. A large group of rural farmers are still frustrated. There are several alternative options e.g. Satellite Broadband, mobile technology, but the speed is starting get very slow and the cost is high.

How can find proven internet technology at reasonable cost for the users outside the mainstream sources?
What really matters in the rural sector and what services do they want?
How to accelerate the Internet use on the farm?
Why the satellite connection is getting slow (over-subscription, latency), and how can we improve it?
Will 4G be able to mitigate the pain at a reason cost?
What is the role of competition in rural Internet delivery?

May 3, 2012
12:11 pm
Forum Posts: 82
Member Since:
February 7, 2011

Another Rural session suggestion, previously provided by Lance Wiggs, has been to about accelerating farm Internet use, as in applications and systems that utilise the net, which might include SaaS, environmental monitoring etc.

June 20, 2012
4:33 pm
Forum Posts: 82
Member Since:
February 7, 2011

Facilitator Reg Hammond has fleshed out the Rural sector session: This will be on Wednesday 11 July at 11.10am. It is entitled "Beyond the Bull"
With the contracts for the Government's Rural Broadband Initiative now let, can we take that deployment as a baseline and identify what gaps remain to be filled - and who will fill them.

What do we mean by gaps? Even after the RBI has been fully deployed there will still be gaps - some remote rural communities and users will still not be covered by the RBI. Others will want more than the 5Mbps guaranteed.

How can rural users and communities make a difference themselves? What other initiatives are in the pipeline from Government, Suppliers and the Communities themselves?

There are two future government initiatives that will have a big impact on the gaps:

The allocation of the Digital Dividend Spectrum - this spectrum is particularly valuable for rural areas - it has greater coverage potential and greater capacity to allow higher broadband speeds/bandwidth on cellular networks. Much depends though on how the government allocates this spectrum - what rules they put around it such as what it should be used for, where it should be used, what timeframe it is deployed in. Then there is the issue of how the available spectrum is divided up - bigger blocks will mean greater bandwith on a particular network whereas smaller block will mean more networks and greater competition - but each will have less spectrum.

The review of the TSO is scheduled for 2013 - the review will probably be wide ranging with options ranging from scrap the TSO all-together to introducing a new universal services obligation that included a minimum internet bandwidth.

Suppliers have big decisions

Chorus and Vodafone have to meet certain obligations under the RBI but beyond that other wireless and cellular suppliers have opportunity to locate equipment on RBI towers and use RBI backhaul fibre. Vodafone and Telecom will face a decision about when they move to LTE the next generation of cellular network which has superior broadband/data capability - this may be tied to them getting digital dividend spectrum.

Chorus is likely to have diverging incentives - - deployment of fibre to the home in many urban areas, maintenance of copper services in rural and urban areas, fibre to cell towers in rural areas.

Smaller wireless providers have both threats and opportunities brought about by the RBI.

Other suppliers of rural goods/services - eg banks, stock merchants, information services (weather, market prices, health, education) should be incentivised to develop low bandwidth apps that work effectively on cellular networks in particular - is that happening?

Rural Users and Communities

What can rural communities do for themselves to fill gaps?
- co-ordinated action within small communities to get suppliers to extend further (eg repeater stations or digging trenches). How can the most be made of what is available -but who's job is it to coordinate action at the local level?

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