The McGowan Government has undertaken Australia's first audit of regional telecommunications infrastructure to map the gaps in Western Australia's digital connectivity.
The audit captures the location and capacity of commercial, private and government-owned telecommunications assets across WA to establish gaps in coverage and where assets could be leveraged to expand connectivity.
As could be expected, the audit has found that most commercial telecommunications infrastructure is focused on population centres - however, government and privately owned assets such as radio towers are more widely and evenly spread.
This creates an opportunity for government and industry to leverage off these assets to harness the benefits of 21st century technology.
The findings of the audit will be used to guide investment of the State Government's $22 million Agricultural Telecommunications Infrastructure Improvement Fund to drive productivity gains and jobs growth in agriculture.
Comments attributed to Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"No one has ever taken an across-the-board look at the telecommunications infrastructure available across an entire Australian State or Territory, and already we are seeing interest from other State Governments in replicating this process.
"Our audit shows there are vast numbers of government and industry-owned mobile and radio towers spread across the State, as well as some private fibre.
"These assets could provide the basis to plug the connectivity gaps in regional WA that are stopping our farmers from harnessing the benefits of the agtech revolution.
"The invaluable data collected by this audit will ensure our $22 million Agricultural Telecommunications Infrastructure Improvement Fund is invested in areas where connectivity needs are most critical in the most cost-effective manner."
Comments attributed to Innovation and ICT Minister Dave Kelly:
"The McGowan Government is committed to supporting a globally competitive local economy.
"Without proper access to the internet, our agricultural industry can't take advantage of the latest technologies and properly connect to their markets.
"The lack of business-grade internet connectivity is hampering the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that our farmers are famous for.
"This audit will help us to bring a strategic view to this infrastructure in our regions, and assist in making sure the WA agricultural industry remains world class."
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