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.
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 up to an additional $112 million (GST inclusive), including approximately $45 million (GST inclusive) of dedicated funding for projects in Northern Australia under the Connecting Northern Australia initiative.
Applications for RCP Round 2 funding are now open to interested parties from the telecommunications industry, regional communities, regional development organisations and local businesses as well as local, state and territory governments. The guidelines and application process are available on the Government's central grants website.
RCP applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with state, territory and local governments and local communities on proposed solutions.
Please check back for updates.
The Government has launched a Project Noticeboard for RCP Round 2 as part of the call for applications. The Noticeboard seeks to help communities form partnerships with the telecommunications sector to develop applications for RCP Round 2 funding. Members of the community are invited to upload their project proposals to the Noticeboard throughout the application period.
This Noticeboard is for information purposes only. These projects have not been funded or endorsed by the Commonwealth. Projects on the Noticeboard are not guaranteed funding, nor does the Commonwealth guarantee that any of the projects will be developed into an application. Views or recommendations provided in the project proposals do not necessarily reflect the views or recommendations of the Commonwealth nor indicate the Commonwealth's commitment to a particular course of action.
Applications and the Project Noticeboard are both open until 27 January 2022 (5:00pm AEDT).
The Connecting Northern Australia initiative
The Connecting Northern Australia initiative (CNA initiative) was announced in the 2021–22 Budget as part of the Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Northern Australia. The CNA initiative is providing $75.3 million (GST inclusive) in dedicated funding to improve telecommunications infrastructure across Northern Australia through the Mobile Black Spot Program and the Regional Connectivity Program.
The CNA initiative will support projects which respond to the specific connectivity needs of rural and remote communities in the north, a vital strategic growth area.
For the purposes of Round 2, Northern Australia is defined as the part of Australia above the Tropic of Capricorn and the whole of the Northern Territory. A detailed map of the eligible area is available on the Office of Northern Australia's website.
On 16 April 2021 the Australian Government announced an investment of $90 million (GST inclusive) to support 81 communications infrastructure projects under Round 1 of the RCP.
On 10 June 2021, the Government announced that a further 51 meritorious Round 1 projects had been funded under the program.
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. Improved connectivity through the RCP will allow regional communities and businesses to access essential online services, utilise new business tools and connect with the digital economy.
Further information on the Round 1 RCP application outcomes can be found on GrantConnect.
Additional information and resources
- The Round 2 Guidelines are available on GrantConnect
- 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review
- Government's response to the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review
- 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review
- Have Your Say on the draft Regional Connectivity Program Round 2 Draft Grant Opportunity Guidelines
- Regional Connectivity Program—funded projects