Byte by Byte

How a new broadband network is set to revolutionise a city
Are you thinking of Adelaide as the City of Churches? Then think again. From attracting the world’s largest conferences to becoming Australia’s first Gig City, a quiet revolution is shaking up the South Australian capital.

Within months internet speeds that are 10 times faster than the National Broadband Network will be on offer in innovation pockets around Adelaide, making it Australia’s first “Gig City”.

The South Australian Government has outlined $4.65 million in funding that will see its existing SABRENet network, an optical fibre network set up in 2007 to connect the state’s universities and educational sites, expanded to offer speeds from 1 to 10 gigabits per second. NBN’s top speed is 100 megabits per second.

The network will help businesses in the Tonsley innovation hub, Technology Park at Mawson Lakes, Techport, the Thebarton Bioscience Precinct, St Paul’s Creative Centre, the Majoran co-working space, Hub Adelaide and the Stretton Centre connect to super-fast internet.Adelaide’s Gig City dream is inspired by Chattanooga in the US, which invested in gigabit-speed internet in 2010 and benefited to the tune of $1 billion in economic and social uplift and more than 3000 new jobs. When Premier Jay Weatherill announced the project earlier this year, he painted a vision of “innovation precincts the length and breadth of Adelaide” joined together to take advantage of the fast internet speeds. Mr Weatherill says this would, for example, be useful for small businesses keen to be involved in the Future Submarines program. It is also expected to attract hi-tech global companies and future industries, making South Australia a leading centre for innovation and entrepreneurship.

From web to country

New-age digital expertise is helping harvest valuable on-ground knowledge for potential investors under a push to transform one of the pillars of the South Australian economy, the agriculture sector.

The AgInsight South Australia web portal, set up in August 2015, is the first website in Australia to provide agribusiness industry analysis, land capability mapping and commodity information in one place. Updated information about farms, weather, volume and value of production, unit pricing and processing facilities is now accessible at the fingertips, a move welcomed by peak industry body Agribusiness Australia. “These sorts of adoptions of great technology to agriculture are fantastic additional tools for the sector,” Agribusiness Australia chief executive Tim Burrow says. “In the past this amount of analysis was the domain of the analysts and rarely saw the light of day but now this suite of information is truly at your fingertips. It gives a great platform for better decisions to be made around South Australia’s pillar industry, agriculture.”

The web portal has already been introduced to potential investors in India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand through the State Government’s outbound trade missions. “We have a million square kilometres in South Australia and the temperature, rainfall, soils and infrastructure varies greatly between the regions,” says Agriculture Minister Leon Bignell. “AgInsight South Australia is the nation’s first site to have interactive land use mapping and commodity information, latest news and industry analysis in one place. It will also provide local and international investors with a greater understanding of what our primary industries have to offer.”

The key feature of the portal is multi-layered mapping which allows the user to zoom in from a statewide level to property level and display information about infrastructure, land type, land zoning and land parcels, climate, rainfall, temperature, frosts and water availability. AgInsight South Australia is part of state’s four-year Agribusiness Accelerator Program.