The federal government is to open round one of its $20 million grant program for commercial trials of 5G technology from 19 February, offering individual grants up to $2 million.
The Australian 5G Innovation Initiative program was included as part of the 2020-2021 Budget, within the government’s previously announced $29.3 million Job Maker Digital Business plan, with $22.1 million set aside at the time for 5G commercial trials and testbeds in key industry sectors.
Across the program, a total of $20 million in grants will be available for businesses to trial commercial uses of 5G technology over two rounds. In the first round, businesses will be able to apply for individual grants from $100,000 up to $2 million from a pool of $10 million.
According to the grant guidelines, businesses need to focus on at least one of three areas: enhanced mobile broadband; ultra reliable, low latency communications; or massive machine-to-machine communications.
The government has also established an online noticeboard for businesses to post their ideas to attract partners for help with potential projects under the program.
Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher said the program is expected to encourage rapid deployment of 5G technology.
“I encourage Australian businesses across all sectors to consider how 5G can benefit them and apply for funding through this Initiative,” Minister Fletcher said.
“Whether it is the use of sophisticated sensors on farm animals to provide information about their welfare in real time or using 5G in factories to monitor machinery to detect faults and do maintenance, reducing breakdowns and increasing efficiency: the opportunities are endless and I encourage all sectors to tell us how 5G can make a difference to their business.”
The grant application period for round one will be open from 19 February to 31 March.