How can farmers solve their poor internet connectivity issues? By getting creative and taking matters into their own hands, of course.
In the second installment in Future Farming’s Field Trials podcast, Jesse Hirsh, technology strategist, futurist and livestock farmer details how people living in rural areas should not wait for large communication companies and governments to bring internet signals to their door.
Instead, they should look to their own farm infrastructure, where the closets sources of reliable connection are, and their local community to find solutions for both themselves and neighbours.
“There’s always a work-around,” says Hirsh. Using already on-hand equipment to run fibre optic cable; constructing towers or making better use of grain storage facilities for wireless signals; using edge computing rather than relying on constant cloud contact; establishing co-operatives for regional services; viewing internet infrastructure literacy the same as mechanical knowledge or other important farm management skills – all are examples of how individuals and rural communities as a whole can make advances.
Hirsh also reiterates the importance of getting ahead. Rural communities who opt out of internet infrastructure investments will, even with the availability of technologies like Starlink, eventually be left behind.
You not only have to upgrade rural internet, but you have to upgrade in a way that almost future-proofs it
“The internet is a moving target. It’s not like there’s a finish line. Speeds are always getting faster, and the paradox or challenge for rural communities is it’s the urban centres that are always setting the pace, and they have no desire to slow down” he says. “It means you not only have to upgrade rural internet, but you have to upgrade in a way that almost future-proofs it, so as the speeds in the cities continue to get faster, you don’t have this perpetual game of catchup. You don’t have the digital divide expanding.”
“Even though people in rural areas might say ‘my internet is a little bit better,” they still can’t video conference on Zoom because now it’s the metaverse and it’s all virtual reality.”