Consultation opens on key regional communications program

The Australian Government is now seeking feedback on the draft guidelines for Round 3 of the Regional Connectivity Program (including Mobile Black Spot opportunities)

The Regional Connectivity Program (RCP) round 3 is designed to expand mobile coverage and improve the accessibility and reliability of mobile and broadband services in regional, rural and First Nations communities.

A further 2 rounds of the program—including round 3—were announced in the October 2022–23 Federal Budget as part of the Better Connectivity Plan for Regional and Rural Australia.

round 3 of the Program has up to $150 million (GST exclusive) of funding available, including:

  • A $100 million Regional Connectivity Solutions stream for place-based solutions that deliver new or upgraded broadband services or upgraded mobile services; and
  • A $50 million Mobile Black Spot Solutions stream that deliver New Handheld Coverage to regional, rural and remote Australia.

For Mobile Black Spot Solutions, applicants, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and other interested parties are encouraged to work together during the application development period to develop multi-MNO solutions, including solutions that use active sharing technologies.

Previous rounds of the RCP have delivered a total of 223 projects. round 3 will build on that investment to improve digital inclusion, provide social and economic opportunities, and improve public safety in regional, rural and First Nations communities through investment in new or upgraded telecommunications infrastructure.

Funded projects could include new and upgraded mobile voice and data coverage, targeted broadband deployments, and improved microwave and fibre backhaul capacity in locations across regional and rural Australia.

The consultation process will be informed by the views of local communities and businesses, state and local governments, and the telecommunications industry, to help the Australian Government design the eligibility and assessment criteria, and application process for round 3 of the program.

Consultation for round 3 is open until 10 February 2023 at 5pm AEDT.

To view the draft guidelines or to make a submission, please visit: Regional Connectivity Program Round 3 (including Mobile Black Spot opportunities)—Draft Grant Opportunity Guidelines.

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