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Western Australia launches fund to boost rural telecommunications infrastructure

Western Australia (WA) has set up a AU$22 million (£13 million) fund to support the development of "innovative infrastructure" to help the state's agricultural sector.01 Feb 2017

The State Agricultural Telecommunications Infrastructure Improvement Fund will help private and industry agricultural organisations in regional WA to "construct or adopt emerging technologies" to stay competitive internationally, said the state's regional development minister Terry Redman.

The fund will invest in projects "providing direct long-term benefits and impact on the agricultural industry. This could include improving mobile and internet coverage in innovative ways, improvements in knowledge management systems, or better utilisation of wireless technologies and computer-aided or controlled devices", Redman said.

Agriculture and food minister Mark Lewis said high speed internet is needed for future business improvement and productivity gains.

"Autonomous vehicles, variable rate technologies, real-time weather applications and remote sensing are just a few of the opportunities which will open up to WA agriculture through blanket digital coverage of farming regions and enhanced download speeds," Lewis said.

The fund is part of a wider AU$75m infrastructure investment fund for agriculture infrastructure across regional WA, the state said.

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