The mayor of Kaikoura, New Zealand, Winston Gray, welcomed the announcement by operator Spark New Zealand to accelerate the rollout of high-speed mobile services across rural areas in the Canterbury region, according to a media report. Fast 4G/LTE broadband will mean efficient irrigation ahead of hot and dry summers, Gray said. According to the mayor, digital data and communications are needed on farms to ensure the most efficient use of water. “We also need it to manage nutrients, stock and the business of farming, including keeping our farm workers safe and getting emergency help to them quickly if there is an accident,” he added.
Even as traditional mobile services—voice, SMS and data—are in decline as sources of ARPU, mobile networks continue to be essential to all societies in both old and new ways. This example from rural New Zealand shows specifically how that can work. The farming sector there is directly dependent on a strong, fast mobile broadband. Of course communications are essential, enabling farmers to get rapid access to the latest climate and weather data as well as to stay in touch with each other and with vendors and customers. In addition, though, it appears that Spark’s rollout of 4G/LTE will also enable the operation of M2M devices and systems that manage agricultural resources and farming mechanisms. By strengthening their networks, telecom operators like Spark can play a vital role in driving many sectors of the economy and, in so doing, increase revenue.