Through the Regional Connectivity Program (the RCP) the Commonwealth is funding the delivery of 132 ‘place-based’ telecommunications infrastructure projects across regional, rural and remote Australia.
Round 1 of the RCP delivered an investment of $90.3 million to support 81 communications infrastructure projects. Funded projects include new and improved mobile voice and data coverage, fixed wireless and fibre broadband services, and improved microwave and fibre backhaul capacity to locations across regional, rural and remote Australia. In particular for locations serviced by nbn fibre and nbn fixed wireless.
On 6 May 2021 (At Beef Week in Rockhampton), the Government announced that further Commonwealth funding will be allocated towards ‘place-based’ telecommunications infrastructure projects under the RCP.
The additional funding includes a further $84.8 million (GST exclusive) in the 2021–22 Budget, as well as $68.5 million in dedicated funding towards digital technology solutions in Northern Australia through the Regional Connectivity Program and the Mobile Black Spot Program.
Also included within the announcement was that $24.6 million (GST exclusive) has been allocated to fund an additional Round 1 projects. On 10 June 2021, the Government announced that a further 51 meritorious Round 1 projects had been funded under the program. Remaining funding will be distributed through a new competitive grants process.
Round 1: 132 projects co-funded under the first round of the Regional Connectivity Program (RCP), with a total Round 1 investment by the Commonwealth of $114.9 million.
BIRRR has mapped Round 1 Projects here:
Click on the link (https://www.zeemaps.com/map?group=4156664) to the map & then click on each ‘pin’ for further details about each project.
Each project is colour coded by technology: Fixed Wireless Broadband, Fibre Broadband, Mobile Voice & Data, Satellite Broadband or Fibre Backhaul. Click on each pin to get further details on each project.
BIRRR has heard of regional telecommunications being described as bit like a patchwork quilt, a piece of swiss cheese and a jungle! It’s very difficult to get independent advice when it comes to navigating regional comms. Every provider will want to sell you their solution and their solution will of course be best for your community.
With this in mind BIRRR has developed some tips on how to advocate best for your community and how to assess the best place based solution for those communities looking to apply for Regional Connectivity Program funding.
Regional Connectivity Program (RCP) Round 2 Consultation
On 6 May 2021, the Government announced that further Commonwealth funding will be allocated towards ‘place-based’ telecommunications infrastructure projects under the RCP.
Round 2 of the RCP is providing an additional $112.8 million (GST incl), including $46.6 million (GST inclusive) of dedicated funding for projects in Northern Australia under the Connecting Northern Australia initiative.
The Government has released the draft grant opportunity guidelines for Round 2 of the Regional Connectivity Program (RCP) for public consultation. This is the opportunity to comment on the design of Round 2 of the RCP before the guidelines are finalised and a call for applications is made.
Submissions are encouraged from the telecommunications industry, all levels of government and other interested stakeholders. Consultation is open for two weeks until Friday 29 October 2021 at 5:00pm AEDT.
Tips for Communities Applying for an RCP Grant
Step 1 : Map what technologies are currently in the community
Discover what telecommunication options are in your area – visit here https://regionaltechhub.org.au/get-connected/discover-internet-options/ to see how you can map the current technologies
Step 2: Follow the Connectivity Roadmap
BIRRR encourages communities to assess, research and identify a roadmap of connectivity.
Step 3: Decide on a technology for the RCP project
Factors such as affordability, future-proofing, choice of provider, terrain etc can all impact the decision on which technology and which telco a community will use for an RCP grant application. BIRRR has developed a handy independent technology comparison to assist communities.