The Alternative Voice Services Trials (AVST) Program will provide grants to organisations to trial alternative ways to deliver voice services in rural and remote areas of Australia, within NBN Co’s fixed wireless and satellite footprints. This includes those serviced by Telstra’s high capacity radio concentrator (HCRC) networks.

The following map gives an indication of services outside the NBN Co’s fixed wireless footprints including HCRC services.

Map of Australia showing Telstra STS outside NBN fixed line footprint, by Technology, on Telstra 3G Mobile Coverage, dated September 2018

The map can be found in our 2018 report on the development of the Universal Service Guarantee (USG) on the Department’s website.

The objective of the trials is to identify new ways to deliver voice services, including by new providers, and assess their effectiveness, given concerns about existing voice solutions and the potential for alternative technologies to provide better services and functionality.

We are interested in a range of alternative voice technologies and providers participating in the trials.

The Australian Government has allocated a total of $2 million for the trials.

The guidelines, grant agreement and application form for the AVST program can be accessed through GrantConnect.

Program Background

The trials were announced as part of the Government’s response to the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee (RTIRC) and reflect particular concerns about the performance and longevity of HCRC networks.

On 20 December 2019, Minister Fletcher issued a draft design for the trials, which reflected submissions received following our consultation. Documents relating to the AVST Program and its guidelines are available on our “Have Your Say” page.

Telstra Data on Services in Operation (SIOs)

Telstra has provided a data file showing services in operation (SIOs) that can be used by applicants. While the program guidelines will be publicly available, the AVST data file is confidential information that will be available only to entities with a genuine and demonstrable interest in submitting an application under the program, and only upon provision of a correctly signed Confidentiality Deed.

If you are interested in being an applicant and accessing this data please contact us as at: USG [at] communications.gov.au.

Consumer Register Site

If you are a consumer living in a rural or remote area and you are interested in participating in a trial, we want to hear from you.

To process your request, we may disclose your information to a third party, such as CSPs and/or other organisations who are involved in trial services.

It will be a matter for Carriage Service Providers (CSPs) whether they contact you to offer you a trial.

Privacy

Our Privacy Policy contains information about privacy obligations, as well as complaint handling processes and how to access and/or seek correction of personal information held by the department.

If you have queries, comments or feedback, please email us on: USG [at] communications.gov.au