Broadband Connectivity for Rural Community and Agricultural Development

Julie Freeman, Sora PARK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Digital network technologies aid the socioeconomic prosperity of rural communities, particularly through agricultural innovation to improve productivity and competitiveness. However, internet access is imperative to benefit from the full functionality of digital technologies and connect to wider markets and services. To date, Australia’s national broadband plans have not ensured parity in service provision between urban and rural areas, which results in uneven opportunities based on remoteness and regionality. Forms of connectivity fundamentally shape the activities pursued online and areas with higher quality broadband hold a competitive advantage. Rural users of Australia’s satellite and mobile wireless connections are constrained by poor coverage, unreliability and slow speeds, which are compounded by high costs, limited consumer choice of providers, and restricted data allowances. These constraints mean the potential of digital technologies for rural socioeconomic development remain largely unrealised. This article argues that rural Australia must be prioritised in broadband infrastructure developments to narrow the digital divide and provide the connectivity necessary to increase rural participation in the digital economy. It suggests greater flexibility in policy would encourage investment in and support for local infrastructure solutions that address different demands and market environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-29
Number of pages11
JournalFarm Policy Journal
Volume14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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agricultural development
community development
rural development
rural community
infrastructure development
socioeconomic development
digital divide
market
prosperity
functionality
competitiveness
urban area
rural area
flexibility
productivity
coverage
infrastructure
innovation
Internet
participation

Cite this

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title = "Broadband Connectivity for Rural Community and Agricultural Development",
abstract = "Digital network technologies aid the socioeconomic prosperity of rural communities, particularly through agricultural innovation to improve productivity and competitiveness. However, internet access is imperative to benefit from the full functionality of digital technologies and connect to wider markets and services. To date, Australia’s national broadband plans have not ensured parity in service provision between urban and rural areas, which results in uneven opportunities based on remoteness and regionality. Forms of connectivity fundamentally shape the activities pursued online and areas with higher quality broadband hold a competitive advantage. Rural users of Australia’s satellite and mobile wireless connections are constrained by poor coverage, unreliability and slow speeds, which are compounded by high costs, limited consumer choice of providers, and restricted data allowances. These constraints mean the potential of digital technologies for rural socioeconomic development remain largely unrealised. This article argues that rural Australia must be prioritised in broadband infrastructure developments to narrow the digital divide and provide the connectivity necessary to increase rural participation in the digital economy. It suggests greater flexibility in policy would encourage investment in and support for local infrastructure solutions that address different demands and market environments.",
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Broadband Connectivity for Rural Community and Agricultural Development. / Freeman, Julie; PARK, Sora.

In: Farm Policy Journal, Vol. 14, No. 3, 2017, p. 19-29.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Broadband Connectivity for Rural Community and Agricultural Development

AU - Freeman, Julie

AU - PARK, Sora

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

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AB - Digital network technologies aid the socioeconomic prosperity of rural communities, particularly through agricultural innovation to improve productivity and competitiveness. However, internet access is imperative to benefit from the full functionality of digital technologies and connect to wider markets and services. To date, Australia’s national broadband plans have not ensured parity in service provision between urban and rural areas, which results in uneven opportunities based on remoteness and regionality. Forms of connectivity fundamentally shape the activities pursued online and areas with higher quality broadband hold a competitive advantage. Rural users of Australia’s satellite and mobile wireless connections are constrained by poor coverage, unreliability and slow speeds, which are compounded by high costs, limited consumer choice of providers, and restricted data allowances. These constraints mean the potential of digital technologies for rural socioeconomic development remain largely unrealised. This article argues that rural Australia must be prioritised in broadband infrastructure developments to narrow the digital divide and provide the connectivity necessary to increase rural participation in the digital economy. It suggests greater flexibility in policy would encourage investment in and support for local infrastructure solutions that address different demands and market environments.

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