National Farmers' Federation

Sky Muster promises break in data drought

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed the launch of Sky Muster this morning – the first dedicated NBN satellite which will service rural Australia from next year.
NFF CEO Simon Talbot said this is a critical step in resolving the data drought affecting rural internet users.
“People have been appalled by the Interim Satellite Solution offered by the NBN, which has left families unable to send e-mails, access online learning or manage their finances online,” Mr Talbot said.
“With the launch of the new dedicated satellite, we expect to see many farmers able to fully participate in the digital economy for the first time.
“Digitally enabling Australian farms is a critical step towards our vision for a $100 billion agriculture industry by 2030.
“Using the latest technology, including cloud-based decision support tools to analyse volumes of data, farmers have the chance to profoundly improve their yields and productivity.
“Improved connectivity could also pave the way for new traceability technology, supporting a stronger ‘Brand Australia’ in export markets.
“Fast and reliable broadband is the key to unlocking these dormant productivity gains, which is why today’s launch is such an important milestone.”
Excitement in the farming community will, however, be mixed with trepidation, as potential users wait to fully understand the services which the new satellite will deliver.
“We understand that based on capacity constraints, we will see rural satellite users being subject to lower download limits than those in metropolitan areas. Farmers will be keen to ensure that caps are reasonable, and don’t place a handbrake on business or education usage,” Mr Talbot said.
“We also await a clear plan from NBN Co as to how services will be upgraded as further capacity is needed. Analysis by the NFF indicates that planned capacity could be exhausted as quickly as 2020 if demand continues to increase.
“Rural Australians deserve a plan which clarifies how the network outside the major cities will be augmented over time to meet their needs.”

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