Agriculture is one of the most technically advanced industries, but the use of smart farming processes is being severely hindered by the lack of rural broadband in the UK.
This lack of urgency to connect the countryside is also limiting and restricting the expansion of much needed new revenue streams including holiday lets and the online retail of farm produce.
This could all be about to change…
The House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has launched a major inquiry into broadband provision in rural areas, but many will say this is at the 11th hour if not more pressing.
Time is running out. 2015 (next year!) sees the majority of public services becoming digital by default, so business aside, rural communities will not be able to function without well mapped out broadband and Wi-Fi infrastructures in place.
Desktop to Field
To be competitive, agriculture needs high-speed wireless to the field – however remote. Big data, automated systems, robots, drones and driver-less tractors sound like works of science fiction, but these are modern farming tools.
The data generated from these technologies is valuable and fundamental to the viability of farming. While technology has changed the shape of food production, the biggest technological developments are still to come, predicts David Gardner, chief executive of the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE).
“We are doing things now that 20 years ago we could never have imagined,” he says. “There is so much technology still to come that in 50 years’ time farms will look very different from those of today.”
To find out more about the DEFRA enquiry, why not read this article published in ComputerWeekly.com.