More than 80 rural communities across Australia will soon benefit from better digital connectivity with the Federal Government announcing the successful projects funded under the $90 million Regional Connectivity Program (RCP).
The program is delivering 81 place-based solutions to digital connectivity issues in the regions through a range of mobile and broadband services, including a wireless network for the Gundagai, Cootamundra and Snowy Valleys areas in NSW.
Together with co-contributions from funding recipients, state, territory and local governments, regional businesses and community development organisations, these projects will deliver new investment through improved connectivity totalling more than $180 million.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said digital connectivity is a core element of the Federal Government’s regional development agenda.
“As the last year has shown, digital connectivity has become an essential part of how we work, learn, stay healthy and remain in contact with loved ones, and it is particularly critical to sustaining productivity growth and innovation in our regional communities,” Mr McCormack said.
Federal Regional Communications Minister, Mark Coulton, who joined the Deputy Prime Minister in Wagga Wagga to make the announcement, said the Government is listening to the digital needs of regional communities and businesses, and has used the RCP to design and deliver place-based solutions that solve rural connectivity issues.
“The Government has taken a collaborative approach in delivering the RCP and has engaged with the telecommunications industry and regional communities to make sure the funded projects are tailored to the needs and priorities of each region and are supported by the local community,” Mr Coulton said.
Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, said that the RCP is part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to bring the digital economy to the regions, complementing the National Broadband Network and the Mobile Black Spot Program.
“From Gippsland to the WA Grainbelt, the Regional Connectivity Program will provide targeted upgrades to connectivity in regional areas that need it the most, ensuring that more Australians can access high-speed, reliable broadband and mobile services,” Mr Fletcher said.
Grants have been allocated on a competitive basis, with the value of successful projects ranging from $80,500 for targeted mobile capacity upgrades in small towns to $8,750,000 for the deployment of large-scale fixed wireless broadband networks across entire regions.