Mediacom Communications is working with John Deere to investigate the extension of high-speed broadband in rural Iowa to provide connectivity for automated farm machinery.

Mediacom Business and John Deere have filed an expression of interest with the FCC that outlines a plan to improve agricultural efficiency and production by driving fiber networks deeper into rural Iowa and connecting commercial farming operations with wireless broadband services.

Farming is becoming increasingly automated. John Deere has been equipping its machinery with telemetrically enabled mobile systems since 2006, the company said.

Agriculture is likely to continue incorporating advanced technologies, including sensors and monitors.

In their filing with the FCC, Mediacom and John Deere wrote, “Increasingly, the ability of our agricultural equipment and systems to improve efficiency, yield, and smart resource use will depend on high speed broadband connections capable of enabling real-time machine-to-machine (M2M) interaction and sharing of data with research institutions and governmental agencies."

Dan Templin, senior vice president of Mediacom Business, explained that modern farming equipment is increasingly capable of real-time machine-to-machine interaction and data sharing, but much of Iowa's cropland lacks access to broadband services that make this type of communication possible.

"Mediacom Business is bringing fiber powered broadband to rural communities across its service area through its Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions initiative,” said Templin. "What are defined as underserved or unserved areas are increasingly non-traditional communities. For example, large commercial crop operations have a number of advanced-technology machines that need high-speed connectivity to perform optimally, even in the absence of residential consumer demand. And our extensive investment and network deployment in Iowa has us best-positioned to deliver the broadband services agribusinesses require."