Zetifi wireless solution offers improved phone coverage for farmers

Wireless network company Zetifi has issued a call out for farmers in New South Wales and northern Victoria to join a FREE trial that promises to improve phone services
Zetifi Founder and CEO Dan Winson and his team are looking for 50 farmers to trial their phone and internet services with fully subsidised hardware installation and a 12-month subscription to access connectivity for Wi-Fi calls
Photo by Jackie Cooper

The Zetifi trial is part of a Federal Government-backed program targeted at providing improved phone services for rural and remote areas.

Wagga Wagga NSW based Zetifi was recently announced as one of the first three grant recipients under the Government’s $2 million Alternative Voice Services Trial (AVST) Program.

The aim is to find ways to deliver voice services within NBN Co’s fixed wireless and satellite footprints. It seeks to identify new providers and the potential for alternative technologies to provide better services and functionality. 

Zetifi Founder and CEO Dan Winson explained the aim is to establish alternatives to relying solely on current mobile, satellite or high-capacity radio concentrator (HCRC) coverage to make voice calls.

Instead, Zetifi will provide a multi-carrier connection so that triallists can confidently use Wi-Fi Calling to make calls, even when the household has poor or no mobile cellular coverage. 

While Wi-Fi Calling is not a new innovation, the maturity of the technology has made it an attractive alternative to traditional voice services for those living in areas with poor or patchy mobile coverage.

The increased reliability and resilience of Zetifi’s ruggedised Wi-Fi means that rural and remote residents are less reliant on their proximity to mobile towers and other network infrastructure.

“Anyone living in highly populated areas take our phone service or mobile coverage for granted but that’s not the case for many people in rural and remote areas.

“The disruptions caused by the current pandemic, combined with more people wanting to work from rural and remote areas, have only emphasised the need for reliable connectivity,” said Dan. 

“We’re keen to hear from farmers who are interested in taking part in these trials.

“By providing these farmers with a Zetifi Wi-Fi network, which enable them to make Wi-Fi calls, we’re aiming to prove that our technology can not only provide a solution to poor mobile coverage but provide a stable and reliable replacement for the legacy radio and copper network in rural and remote areas.” Dan added.

The program will provide 50 farmers with access to a fully subsidised hardware installation and a 12-month subscription to Zetifi solutions to help them access better connectivity for Wi-Fi calls.

Of these participants, 40 farmers will receive a ZetiBase, which predominantly provides indoor Wi-Fi for areas where weak mobile signals cannot penetrate the residence.

The remaining 10 trial participants will be provided with a ZetiCell, a longer-range solution for areas with very poor coverage with a 300m radius of outdoor Wi-Fi and the option to extend connectivity to sheds, yards and across the farm.

The company is looking to have all 50 units installed and ready to use by 31 May 2021.

Dan says the ZetiBase and ZetiCell solutions are just a few of the Zetifi hardware solutions developed to leverage existing telecommunications infrastructure while filling in connectivity gaps in the bush. 

“While our focus in the AVST is on providing better home voice services, our unique advantage is that we can also provide more robust data connectivity and extend this connectivity right across the farm so that farmers need not drive home or to the top of a hill to get a connection,” he said.

The AVST Program will last for 12 months and participants will be able to continue their service and subscription at the conclusion of the trial. 

The awarding of the AVST Program grant is yet another milestone recently celebrated by the tech start-up.

For the last 18 months, the company has been successfully conducting numerous trials with Government organisations, agricultural businesses and industry bodies.

This includes trials to commercialise a viable model for eliminating mobile blackspots with the support of Birchip Cropping Group, a not-for-profit agricultural research and extension organisation led by farmers from the Wimmera and Mallee regions of Victoria. 

In late 2020 Zetifi was also awarded one of the top prizes in the competitive US food and ag-tech competition, Grow-NY, taking home US$500,000.

Dan plans to use this prize to establish a Zetifi presence in Upstate New York and take its solutions to farmers across the US, where many still struggle with poor connectivity.   

To register your interest in receiving a Zetifi solution as part of the AVST Program, email hello@zetifi.com or call 1300 093 711.  

For further information about Zetifi solutions take a look at: www.zetifi.com.

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