The Government is investing $53 million in telecommunications infrastructure projects as part of the Regional Connectivity Program.

The program is being designed to target investment to local priorities to maximise economic opportunities and region-wide benefits for regional, rural and remote Australians.

This is part of the $220 million Stronger Regional Digital Connectivity Package, announced in the Government’s response to the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review.

In August 2019, the Government released a discussion paper on the design of the Regional Connectivity Program. The consultation period for the discussion paper closed on 9 September 2019.

The Government has now released the draft grant opportunity guidelines for public consultation. This is the last opportunity to comment on the design of the program before the program guidelines are finalised and a call for applications is made. Submissions are encouraged from the telecommunications industry, all levels of government and other interested stakeholders. Consultation is open for three weeks until 13 March 2020 at 5:00pm.

The Government has also launched a project noticeboard. The noticeboard seeks to help communities form partnerships with the telecommunications sector to develop applications for Regional Connectivity Program funding. Members of the community are invited to upload their project proposals to the noticeboard throughout the application period.

The Government expects to open the application period for the Regional Connectivity Program after consulting on the program guidelines.