A south-west Queensland beef and cropping farmer plans to create his own on-farm monitoring system after building and installing a 53 metre tower to improve his internet capabilities.
Andrew Sevil, Whyenbah, Dirranbandi, used the guidance of a Brisbane based engineer to design and construct a ‘guyed mast’ tower that would allow him to connect to internet services in neighbouring towns.
Mr Sevil, who runs the 6000 hectare property 20km north of Dirranbandi, built the trusses during wet weather when he was unable to do work out in the paddock.
The tower was lifted into position on April 11 after 12 months of planning and cost about $16,000.
Mr Sevil said the tower allowed them to access internet from a clear line of sight and provided them with a whole new world.
A modem and directional antenna are installed on the tower and using hardware called Ubiquiti it creates a wireless network for dishes on the property’s homes to connect to.
Prior to the installation of the tower, their internet speeds were only a few megabite per second but by accessing internet from St George, 50km north, they are reaching speeds of 40 to 50 megabite per second through Telstra.
Mr Sevil said fixing their internet was one part of the project but now he was looking to networking their property and would meet with an expert on remote observation to set up his own system.
He said he hoped to have pressure level sensors, cameras, electric fence monitoring and trough sensors that would all feed back to the house but it would be much different to current offerings.
“This will give me a live feed,” he said. “It’s actually a video, not just taking a photo, that will be able to record off site and be motion activated.
“I can look at it at any time and it’s not costing me a cent outside of the installation. For me its a far better option.”
He is also looking at taking advantage of Telstra’s wifi calling, which allows customers to make calls when mobile service isn’t available and they are connected to a supported wifi network.
Mr Sevil isn't the first producer to put up his own communications tower with other farmer's in Richmond recently making headlines.
AgForce vice-president and telecommunications committee chair Georgie Somerset said they wouldn't be the last innovative farmers to create their own infrastructure.
She said internet access was no longer a luxury, it was a necessity for productivity and even telecommunications companies were beginning to realise how important it was to agriculture.
"We need to continue investing in this sort of infrastructure just like we do in roads," she said.
Mr Sevil said what he had done was nothing special.
“Why not (do it)?” he said.
“If you are in Brisbane and you get the opportunity to do it than why not us?”