The farming sector could be better off with higher speed mobile broadband called 4G rather than waiting for superfast broadband in rural areas according to leading Aberdeenshire Councillor Paul Johnston.
The Democratic Independent and Green Group leader told New Deer NFU that fast 4G Mobile telecommunications can deliver 15 to 20 mbps speeds – much faster than anything in the North East at the moment – and this could be available soon if Aberdeenshire Council and the Scottish Government help.
Paul Johnston was responding to questions from local NFU members at the 2013 New Deer Show.
“Very fast mobile speeds will be more benefit to farms and agri business than the fixed wire solutions being promoted at the moment – even though it is possible to get faster speeds over the lines. This is because mobile computing can help with real time monitoring of machinery and installations far from telephone broadband lines.” Said Councillor Johnston.
This he contends will, although not as fast as fibre, would still be more than sufficient and more flexible for agri business.
“I hope that Aberdeenshire Council will help and push for some mobile phone transmitters to be switch as soon as possible to test 4G coverage in the Aberdeenshire rural area. I believe it will allow more access over a wider area than cable based systems and prove cheaper and more practical. The laying of cable is costly, time consuming and always favours areas with higher populations, not rural communities. While fibre will bring fantastic speeds to households in our urban towns; mobile 4g may benefit many visitors and tourists in our rural area as well as agri business.”
Aberdeenshire Council have committed £16 million for rural broadband and a proposal from BT for cable is to be assessed shortly. Although 4G is not in the proposal, it is thought that Aberdeenshire would benefit from mobile broadband and Aberdeenshire officials are looking at the possibility.