Connectivity a key factor for rural businesses

Companies which have high internet usage are currently 4 years ahead of an average firm. They’re also 6% more productive and generate 20% more revenue than companies that are slower to pick up and integrate new technology into their business. It’s forecasted next year that over 3.75 million New Zealanders will be using mobile internet.

These are just a couple of the key trends presented by TUANZ CEO, Craig Young, at a recent forestry technology series.

It also presents a very real challenge for the rural sector. While 23% of New Zealand’s businesses are rural-based, there are still many without good access to the internet. Over 13% of our rural population has no internet access at all.

But internet access is only part of the issue.

Mr Young said that it appears that disinterest and high costs are the biggest barriers to internet uptake in the rural sector.

Technology investment into the sector is, however, providing a new wave of mobile productivity tools available to our farmers, horticulturists and foresters. The trouble is that much of this potential is reliant on having good access to the internet.

The Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) is a major Government programme tackling this very issue. In a recent press release the Communications Minister Amy Adams said, “We’ve got a bold 2025 target of 99% of New Zealanders able to access peak speeds of at least 50 Mbps”. An additional $100 million has been injected into the RBI and $50 million to improve the mobile coverage in block spot areas.

A fast and reliable connection will provide significant economic benefits for the rural sector.

Increasing innovation through connectivity within the primary sector is the key focus of an upcoming industry event that has been set up for this country’s primary industries, MobileTECH 2016. Mr Young will be joining a wide range of technology and primary sector leaders at the event being held on 30-31 March 2016 in Rotorua, New Zealand. For more information about this event, visit the website at