Regional Connectivity Program
The Regional Connectivity Program (the RCP) is a grants program funding the delivery of ‘place-based’ telecommunications infrastructure projects to improve digital connectivity across regional, rural and remote Australia.
As part of the Better Connectivity Plan for Regional and Rural Australia, the Federal Government has committed $200 million (GST exclusive) to 2 new rounds of the RCP to improve the accessibility and reliability of mobile and broadband services in regional, rural and First Nations communities.
The RCP improves digital inclusion, as well as social and economic opportunities for regional communities through investment in new or upgraded telecommunications infrastructure.
Funded projects could include new and upgraded mobile voice and data coverage, targeted fibre deployments, and improved microwave and fibre backhaul capacity in locations across rural and regional Australia.
The draft guidelines for Round 3 of the RCP will be released for public consultation by the current Government in the coming months.
BIRRR has mapped the funded Projects here:
Click on the link (https://www.zeemaps.com/map?group=4401811 ) to the map & then click on each ‘pin’ for further details about each project.
Each project is colour coded by type of funding: Click on individual pins to get further details on each project.
Types of Funding
- NBN & Victorian Gov
A co-investment agreement between NBN Co and the Victorian Government has been announced in three stages. The announcements will upgrade nbn technology in many regional towns across Victoria. More details here https://www.nbnco.com.au/corporate-information/media-centre/media-statements/fibre-upgrades-and-higher-speed-broadband-for-around-fourty-thousand-eligible-homes-and-businesses-in-vic
The Peri-Urban Mobile Program (PUMP) is a grants program that provides funding to improve mobile connectivity in bushfire priority areas along the edges of Australia’s major cities. More details here –https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/media-technology-communications/phone/mobile-services-coverage/peri-urban-mobile-program
The North Queensland Telecommunications and Energy Improvement Grants were announced in the 2020–21 budget as part of a $60 million package for five new grant programs to accompany the release of After the flood: A strategy for long-term recovery to support flood affected communities’ recovery from the 2019 North Queensland Monsoon Trough event. The North Queensland Telecommunications and Energy Improvement Grants provided $15 million to support projects that trial and adapt new technologies to improve access to reliable and cost-effective telecommunications connectivity or energy supply across the 14 most flood affected local government areas following the 2019 North Queensland monsoon trough. Co-contribution grants of between $10,000 and $1 million were available on a competitive basis. More details here – https://nema.gov.au/programs/queensland-monsoon-trough/north-queensland-telecommunications-and-energy-improvement-grants
RCP Round 1 and RCP Round 2
The Regional Connectivity Program (the RCP) is a grants program funding the delivery of ‘place-based’ telecommunications infrastructure projects to improve digital connectivity across regional, rural and remote Australia. More details here- https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/media-communications-arts/internet/regional-connectivity-program
Tips for Communities Applying for an RCP Grant
BIRRR has heard of regional telecommunications being described as a 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.
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.
Connectivity Roadmap PDF Download
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.
Independent Technology Comparison PDF Download
Step 4: Gather support letters and Case Studies
Downloadable PDF of sample case studies & sample support letters. Download