Our BDM attended a Farming Champions and Innovate Australia Summit on regional telecommunications and provided this summary:
Yesterday I attended the Farming Champions and Innovate Australia Regional Telecommunications Summit in Kukerin.
On the 4 hour bus ride from Perth to Kukerin I lost mobile coverage just 40 minutes into the journey, highlighting the issue anyone living outside the Perth urban area is very familiar with.
We heard stories from farmers who are unable to make emergency calls on their properties; farmers unable to take advantage of spot price rises due to unstable internet connections;
accountants unable to compete with their city-based peers due to uploads to the ATO website taking many more hours to complete; a school with a pile of iPads in the corner of the room because the internet speeds render them useless to the children.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom though and Senator Reynolds said that it was refreshing to meet people who were prepared to look for solutions rather than point the finger in blame. Representatives from Telstra, Optus, Western Power and government departments were there to listen to the issues and suggestions. The mobile blackspot programme is already reducing some of the coverage gaps that exist.
If attendees of the event can come up with a plan for starting to solve some of the issues raised, Senator Reynolds said that she would ask Minister Fifield to attend the next meeting.
Why was I there? Vanadium flow batteries paired with solar/wind can be used to power remote telecommunication towers and as they need little maintenance are perfect for this type of application. VSUN Energy sponsored the food for the event.