Wireless Broadband brings digital benefits to Government's Farmers
Landcorp Farming is the government dedicated agribusiness SOE with over 100 farms stretching from the Far North to the Deep South, it employs nearly 600 staff and runs 1.5 million stock units on nearly 375,000 hectares.
To maximize the performance of such a diverse operation is a major IT challenge and Landcorp faces the same issue as the rest of rural New Zealand 'how to get decent broadband'.
The answer for Landcorp has been 'Digital Microwave Radio' provided by Araneo Wireless in Wellington. Landcorp now have over 50 out of 100 farm offices connected with dedicated, symmetrical 2Mb/s wireless links and the impact has been dramatic.
'This is enough to run all of our business applications and our farms are saying that using them has gone from painful to instant!' says Landcorp IT Manager Mark Johnstone.
'We're now able to capture data that is setting up the future for all our management systems, there are also a lot of geo-spatial tools that we can now look at using more effectively too!'.
Mark sees his users as being very practical people demanding 'tools not toys' who are always looking for ways to make better decisions faster. 'This has to be totally based on good communications and he rates the Araneo connection as being 10 out of 10 - it just works!
Landcorp also used Araneo as the network provider for a joint development near Taupo because the cost of traditional wiring was just too high. Over 40 houses owned by Landcorp Pastoral Limited were connected with Telephone and Broadband services provided by Araneo partner WorldXChange.
'We need to be an attractive place to work for the next generation of Generation X graduates who are starting to come through'.
'An exciting possibility that we are seriously investigating using video conferencing to deliver on farm training which will have a major impact on productivity!'
Mark can see how poor connectivity is hurting other farmers and is watching the Government's 'Rural Broadband Initiative' with interest.
NZ Herald 14 Jun 2012 All Landcorp farms on broadband by year's end