The McGowan Government will invest an additional $1 million to improve digital connectivity in the Mid-West and West Midlands to drive agricultural jobs in the regions.
The funding will support two projects delivering high-speed, enterprise grade broadband services to an estimated 130 farming enterprises, over an area of 13,500 square kilometres.
The two projects build on the success of the first round of the Digital Farm program, which has delivered high-speed broadband to farmers in the Chapman Valley and North Midlands.
The grants, under the second round of the Digital Farm Grants Program, have been awarded to Geraldton-based wholesale network company, Logic IT Solutions.
The two projects will deliver a fixed wireless network from Geraldton to Mullewa to improve speeds and fill the gaps, along with a fixed wireless network for the Dandaragan area.
The Digital Farm Grants Program is bridging the ‘digital divide’ in regional Western Australia by delivering fast, reliable, affordable and scalable broadband outside the fixed line and fixed wireless National Broadband Network.
The program has extended broadband to more than 1,200 agribusinesses, across 41,000 square kilometres from Kununurra to the Great Southern over the past 12 months under the inaugural round.
As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“Reliable, enterprise-grade broadband is absolutely critical for modern farming businesses to remain competitive in a 21st century market.
“These two projects in the Mid-West and West Midlands build on the rollout in the regions under round one of the Digital Farm program, filling the gaps and ensuring farmers across the northern grainbelt have access to high-speed broadband.
“Both projects will use, where possible, existing towers deployed from the first round of the program to extend further into rural areas where connectivity is lacking.
“These new projects will be delivered by a local Geraldton provider, with strong local in-kind support from the City of Greater Geraldton and Shire of Dandaragan.
“Improved digital connectivity to the farm will enable previously unimaginable access to digital tools, models and products to support farm efficiency, from internet-based farm decision tools to remote monitoring.”