More Regional Connectivity Program Projects Announced

Dozens more projects to improve connectivity in regional, remote and rural Australia under the Federal Government’s Regional Connectivity Program (RCP) have been announced.

Federal Regional Communications Minister Mark Coulton announced  funding totaling $27 million for an additional 51 projects late last week.

Regional connectivity has become a more pressing issue in the wake of COVID said Senator for Tasmania, Jonathon Duniam who is the state’s Assistant Minister for Industry Development and was present for the announcement.

“During COVID we’ve seen many people leaving the larger capitals cities to move to regional areas and smaller capitals like Hobart, where the lifestyle is more enjoyable” Assistant Minister Duniam said. “For this to continue to occur we need to ensure that people can connect to the online services they need.”

One of the locations in Tasmania to benefit from improved broadband and data services will be Tahune Airwalk, a popular tourism destination near Geeveston in the south of the state.

“This project will make the area more accessible online and in person, which will help the area to rebound from devastating bushfires two years ago, and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated Assistant Minister Duniam.

The latest announcement follows 81 projects to score a guernsey in April this year.

Services delivered under the Regional Connectivity Program must demonstrate an improvement over existing telecommunications solutions in the relevant area. A co-contribution aspect is also involved and projects receiving funding are expected to provide retail services for a minimum period of 10 years from the date the service becomes operational.

Funded projects include new and improved mobile voice and data coverage, fixed wireless and fibre broadband services, and enhanced microwave and fibre backhaul capacity. Backhaul refers to the physical part of a communications network between the central backbone and individual local networks.

In May, the Federal Government announced an additional AU$130 million investment into the Program. Another round of the RCP will occur later in the year, with funding to be made available through a competitive grants process.

A full list of all the projects funded under the RCP can be viewed here.

Posted: 15 Jun 2021

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