Vodafone upgrades rural internet connections

Installation for the radio upgrade at Goudies Farm in Taupo.

Vodafone provides improved internet connectivity to over 300,000ha of farmland, allowing New Zealand’s largest pastoral farming company to run its business more efficiently.

The Rural Connect Project sees Vodafone successfully bringing fast and reliable internet to 125 Pamu farms around New Zealand. It is the second largest connectivity project in the country, after the government’s Rural Broadband Initiative.

Pamu is the brand name for Landcorp, a State-owned enterprise. Pamu is New Zealand’s largest farming company. It is also the name given to the quality products created by the company. Pamu produces high quality milk, lamb, beef, venison and wool products from its 125 farms spread throughout the country.

The state-owned enterprise owns over 100,000ha of farmland throughout New Zealand and manages an additional 200,000ha. Many of these farms are in rural regions where many farmers had very poor internet connection.

Vodafone has spent three years delving into the connectivity problems across all areas of Pamu’s business, including regular farm visits and research interviews.

Vodafone Public Sector Business Development Manager, Alistair McDonnell, says the improved internet connection helps farms work smarter not harder.

“Improving connectivity means employees can communicate with others in different parts of the country more regularly, with better quality and improved efficiency.”

“We often take for granted the connectivity we have in our big cities but that’s not the reality for many famers. Now Pamu’s employees are able to work as if they’re in the CBD but from all over the country,” says Alistair.

East Coast Business Manager Victoria Magazinovic says the connection has helped her farms communicate more often and effectively with other stations.

“Since the new connection was put in place we have a weekly conference with other farms to catch up on how everything is tracking. The video conference is such a simple piece of technology but now it works really well having a fast-enough internet connection, so we can get on and get the job done.”

“Vodafone has also helped us extend the connection to the woolshed so the weights and EID information can be uploaded to Farm Management System in real time, allowing other farms to see our results,” she says.

“For years farmers have had issues with internet connectivity, this has made them reserved in using online tools aimed to help productivity, communication and health and safety on the farms. But the benefits of the new connection to farms and employees are continuing to grow, says Pamu General Manager for Innovation, Environment and Technology Rob Ford.

“The new connectivity has helped farmers feel connected and involved. It’s been a true partnership with Vodafone and the team has really understood the importance of this project.”

The next phase of the Vodafone and Pamu partnership will see data collected from the rural farms to help predict trends for how farm businesses can perform better across the board and develop with the new technology.


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