The Farm Bureau and SpaceX have announced a partnership
By Diego Flammini
A farm organization and a company Elon Musk founded are working together to connect rural Nebraskans.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau is partnering with SpaceX to bring Starlink satellite internet to rural communities.
Reliable internet is just as important as reliable equipment for farmers and rural communities.
“Internet access is a necessity in modern agriculture and for the continued success of the small towns our farmers and ranchers rely on daily,” Mark McHargue, president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, said in a statement. “We continue to hear from our members that farms, ranches, rural households and businesses struggle with getting access to reliable high-speed internet.”
Starlink is available throughout the state, the company’s online map indicates.
In the USDA’s 2021 Farm Computer Usage and Ownership report, 85 percent of surveyed Nebraska farms indicated they had internet access.
Just over 50 percent of Nebraska farmers shared they had broadband internet, with 72 percent saying they connect by cellular signal.
Nationally, 82 percent of surveyed farms reported having access to the internet, the report says.
With this partnership comes perks for Nebraska Farm Bureau members.
Farm Bureau members who sign up for Starlink will receive two months of service free – valued at $200, and an installation kit in the mail.
Nebraska is the 37th most connected state in the U.S., according to HighSpeedInternet.com. And the average download speed is 557 Mbps.
The Federal Communications Commission requires consumers to have access to actual download speeds of at least 25 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps.
But those speeds may not be fast enough to accommodate modern ag.
A 2021 broadband report published by the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society indicated networks must be capable of 100/100 Mbps service.