Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP), one of CAAR’s industry partner associations representing farmers in Manitoba, has released the results of a survey the association conducted earlier this year to assess satisfaction with rural cell and internet service across the province.

Deep-Seated Frustration

In February of this year, KAP launched a survey among farmers and non-farmers in rural Manitoba to take the pulse of the province’s rural population on phone and internet service. 1,557 Manitobans representing 113 municipalities took the survey and respondents came from all parts of the province.

According to KAP, nearly two thirds of the survey respondents expressed dissatisfaction with their mobile phone and internet coverage according to a survey report released today. This comes at a time when a vast majority of Manitobans are increasingly reliant on both networks due to social distancing protocols.

“Farm operations require strong internet and cell coverage to conduct business and ensure that food continues to make its way to market,” said Jill Verwey, KAP vice president and chair of the rural policy committee.

“We have heard deep-seated frustration from both farm families and non-farmers about the state of connectivity in rural Manitoba, and providers cannot continue to ask us to pay for a service that is subpar at best,” says Verway. “The best time to fix these gaps was 5 years ago, the second-best time is now.”

An Ongoing Issue

Many of the comments on the survey reflected an inability to be in touch in emergency situations and with farm employees, a hindered ability to fully participate in business operations, or incurring additional costs to add a booster that works sporadically.

Poor reliability for phone and internet in rural Manitoba has made headlines multiple times in recent years, as spotty coverage across the province has contributed to the loss of life and property.

In its December 2018 issue, The Communicator magazine explored alternative technologies including new GPS alternatives to traditional CB radio that ag retailers can use to keep in contact with employees who travel long distances or work in isolation. Click here to read the story and learn how ag retailers are keeping in contact.

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