Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

Farmers have welcomed Telstra’s decision to delay its 3G network switch off until August 31 this year, as thousands of rural Australians remain reliant on 3G services. 

NSW Farmers Rural Affairs Committee Chair Deb Charlton said the announcement made by Telstra today had come as a relief to many in rural parts of the state, who faced the prospect of being disconnected come June 30. 

“With many farmers often working alone and a long way from help, switching off the 3G network without proper community engagement and support would spell disaster for many in the bush,” Mrs Charlton said. 

“A huge range of farm machinery, as well as mobile phones, could also stop functioning if not upgraded in time for the network shutdown – leaving farmers without the tools they need to grow food and bringing agricultural operations to a grinding halt.”

With a range of machinery, devices and landlines potentially affected, Mrs Charlton urged all telecommunications providers to engage communities on the network switchoff to ensure a smooth and safe transition in August this year. 

“We welcome Telstra’s efforts to engage and educate the community around the network shutdown, but this needs to be ramped up, and now, to ensure we can transition over safely to the 4G and 5G networks later this year,” Mrs Charlton said. 

“Suppliers of farm machinery applications using remote sensing or telemetry technology – including tractors, water monitors and more – also have a role to play in supporting farmers in the transition, so they can ensure their technology can continue to function as it needs to into the future.

“Connectivity is a critical tool, and so we can’t spare any time or expense when it comes to keeping our rural and regional communities connected and safe moving forward.”

Previous coverage by the New England Times regarding the 3G switchover:
March 18 New mobile industry working group to support 3G switchover | New England Times (netimes.com.au)
Match 16 Farmers ask for help with 3G switch off underway | New England Times (netimes.com.au)
March 9 The 3G Network is being switched off: what you need to know | New England Times (netimes.com.au)

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