SEPWA To Develop Regional Communications Systems

SEPWA is set to take digital farming to the next level, with COGGO awarding a $37,000 grant to fund their ‘Farm Scale WiFi Project .

The project aims to address the issue of intermittent and some times no existent mobile and data coverage on many farms in regional Western Australia.

According to SEPWA project officer Nigel Metz, rural and remote farm business will struggle to operate at there full potential if they don’t have access to quick and reliable data connections.

“Having a good data connection is not only critical for running advanced farm management applications but also for the basic day-to-day task’s of running a business such as paying bills and submitting quarterly BAS statements” said Metz.

The project whilst in its initial stages will be focusing on investigating the different infrastructure options that are available and then developing a system that will work best in rural Western Australia.

Metz says that “At this stage we are investigating how to integrate the existing fiber optic networks in regional centers with a wireless based system to give the coverage and speed growers require.”

According to Metz “the biggest challenge so far has been attracting people with the right expertise to regional areas to help with the more technical aspects of the project.”

It is SEPWA’s hope that they will be able to integrate their system with the State Governments Royalties for Regions funded Regional Mobile Commutations Project (RMCP) which subsidises the construction of communications towers in identified blackspots.

The project will also investigate an entirely new business model around how communications infrastructure is delivered, by encouraging individual growers to invest in aspects of localised infrastructure if they wish to have blanket on farm coverage.

Metz believes that if successful, a project such as this has the potential to revolutionise agriculture throughout the state, by allowing grower to access powerful web-based applications where and when they need it.

For more information contact Nigel Metz, T: 9083 1115, E: nigel@sepwa.org.au.