The Australian Federal Government has opened up its regional connectivity program for applications to a $53 million funding pot.
The program aims to serve as investment in local telecommunications infrastructure projects, such as improving mobile connectivity.
Carriers are among the organisations eligible to apply for the funding, which will remain open until 20 October.
“We are taking a ‘place‑based’ approach to investment through the Program because we recognise our regions make an enormous contribution to our economy nationally but have distinct digital needs and in some cases require custom solutions,” Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said.
According to Fletcher, the program complements the National Broadband Network (NBN) roll-out and the mobile black spot program.
At the end of 2018, a report into regional connectivity called for a boost in funding in broadband infrastructure as the NBN experienced higher-than-expected user numbers in rural areas.
“In some respects, NBN Co is a victim of its own success,” the report said at the time. “Regional Australians are happily contributing to the unprecedented year-on-year growth in demand for data and this is placing pressure on all regional telecommunications networks, including the NBN.”
According to the latest funding announcement, the new program will provide access to telehealth, remote education and retail internet and phone services, or the development of enterprise-grade broadband networks.