MORE than 80 rural communities will split $90 million to fund location-based solutions to digital connectivity issues.
The Regional Connectivity Program award grants ranging from $80,000 for target mobile capacity upgrades in small towns to $8.75m for the large-scale wireless networks across for the Gundagai, Cootamundra and Snowy Valleys areas in NSW.
Regional Communications Minister Mark Coulton said the Government is listening to the digital needs of regional communities and businesses, and had used the program to design and deliver place-based solutions that solve rural connectivity issues.
"The government has taken a collaborative approach in delivering the RCP and has engaged with the telecommunications industry and regional communities to make sure the funded projects are tailored to the needs and priorities of each region and are supported by the local community," Mr Coulton said.
Together with co-contributions from funding recipients, state, territory and local governments, regional businesses and community development organisations, these projects will deliver new investment through improved connectivity totalling more than $180 million.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said digital connectivity was a core element of the government's regional development agenda.
"As the last year has shown, digital connectivity has become an essential part of how we work, learn, stay healthy and remain in contact with loved ones, and it is particularly critical to sustaining productivity growth and innovation in our regional communities," Mr McCormack said.
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the RCP was part of the government's ongoing commitment to bring the digital economy to the regions, complementing the National Broadband Network and the Mobile Black Spot Program.
"From Gippsland to the WA Grainbelt, the Regional Connectivity Program will provide targeted upgrades to connectivity in regional areas that need it the most, ensuring that more Australians can access high-speed, reliable broadband and mobile services," Mr Fletcher said.
More detail on individual projects will be announced over coming weeks.