More money needed for rural connectivity
The announcement this week of more funding for rural connectivity is positive but it is just a drop in the required connectivity bucket, says Federated Farmers.

The Government’s pledge of an additional $21million towards the creation of “regional digital hubs” in rural areas is good to see, says Feds Telecommunications spokesperson Andrew Hoggard.

“But the investment really just highlights to us that rural business and communities deserve as much chance as their urban counterparts to flourish.” 

The regional digital hubs are a good idea, but the focus must remain on getting better connectivity to where people live and work, Andrew says.

“A good example of this need, would be the IRD’s shift to payday filing on April 1. If you have decent connectivity then you will be able to comply with this change simply. Staff will be able to log their hours via their smart phones, which can go into your cloud based Payroll software, which will then automatically pay everyone, and send the required data to IRD. 

“However, without decent connectivity, smart phones are useless along with cloud based software, and then that rural businesses paperwork mountain just got a little higher.

 “We’re caught between the competing forces of slowly catching rural up to what urban takes for granted and quickly seeing urban shoot further ahead of where rural could reach.”

Technological advances are being made all the time and so rural communities must be given access to those tools, he says.

“Rural can’t be left to lag behind the rest of the country. The current service provided to rural New Zealand is best politely described as sporadic.”