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McGowan Government drives digital business boost in the far north

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Farm businesses in Kununurra and the Ord River Irrigation Area are set to leap into 21st century telecommunications, with phase one of high-quality broadband ready to roll out to industry and residents in the district.

The first of two enterprise grade networks has been installed as a result of the McGowan Government’s Digital Farm Grants program to provide fast, reliable, affordable and scalable broadband to areas that fall outside of the NBN fixed wireless and fixed line footprint.

The fixed wireless infrastructure has been delivered in partnership with Bunbury-based telecommunications provider CipherTel, which received a $497,065 grant for phase one towards installing a tower at nearby Kelly’s Knob and associated infrastructure.

Customers have already started signing up to the service to be fully rolled out during the next few weeks over the Kununurra townsite, industrial

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area and more than 80 farming enterprises in the southern and central parts of the Ord River farmland.

Work has already commenced on the second phase of the project, which will bring high-speed broadband from the east of the townsite to the Northern Territory border where telecommunications is sparse or non-existent.

In the first two rounds of the program, $7 million was granted to six grant recipients to help roll out broadband services to more than 1,400 agribusinesses across 65,000 square kilometres – from the Kimberley to the Great Southern.

“The first phase of this Digital Farm Grant is taking off, extending high-speed broadband services with suitable bandwidth, download limits and service quality to businesses and residents in the Ord. This means Ord farmers will have access to digital connectivity to access essential data, tools, information and internet of things technologies, like remote monitoring sensors and surveillance devices,” Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan said.

“The service will also benefit local emergency service responses, improving communications during fires, floods and cyclones, as well as enhance liveability in the regions by being able to easily access downloads and streaming services. Our Digital Farm Grants program is working with communities and local telecommunications partners to transform the business capabilities of regional enterprises to drive growth in our regions,” Minister Alannah said.

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