As part of the Federal Budget 2021-22 announced on May 11, the government has dedicated a planned spend of close to $1.2 million on their digital economy strategy. Part of this commitment includes a $130.4 million spend for improved regional connectivity. Additionally, a further $24.6 million has been dedicated to shovel-ready projects - an investment in local telecommunications infrastructure.
On the back of the pandemic, there has been an increased recognition of the need for improved connectivity in the regions to allow regional business to access essential online services and business tools, and connect with the digital economy. Australia’s Minister for Regional Communications, Mark Coulton highlighted the “heavy lifting” the regions are doing for the nation and how the Government is now recognising and investing in improved connectivity to support regional Australians.
“The pandemic has shown many Australians the value of the regions, both as economic powerhouses and as desirable destinations to live, work and raise a family.” - regional communications Minister Mark Coulton
Projects funded by the Regional Connectivity Program located within our Inland Technology service area include:
R.A.N (Regional Australia Network): Warren
This $1,627,599 grant will see a fixed wireless broadband network deployed in the Narromine-Warren region, extending high-speed broadband connectivity into these areas. As a result, there will be an increased uptake of new agricultural and business technologies in this rich cotton, grain and livestock industries region. The further benefits include improved access to telehealth and education, as well as creating tourism opportunities in the region.
R.A.N (Regional Australia Network): Moree
The Moree Plains, including the townships of Bullarah, Collarenebri, Gavesend, Mallowa, North Star and Pallamallawa, will receive a fixed wireless broadband network in the region, extending connectivity into these areas which currently have limited coverage.The grant for this project totals $2,403,276.
R.A.N (Regional Australia Network): Gunnedah
$3,967,392 will see a fixed wireless network pushed out across Gunnedah Shire, the Liverpool Plains and Tamworth Regional Shires to improve the existing limited coverage in these areas. These regions are important agricultural locations for high-value cotton, beef and broadacre cropping, with increased connectivity set to improve access to agricultural technologies.
Connecting the Outback
Effort to connect the outback will see $130,000 set to extend the existing Country Broadband Network into the Boggabilla area, providing high-speed connectivity for up to 400 people living and working in the area.
Connecting Costa Group – Growing the Guyra District and New England Region: New England Hwy and Elm St
Costa Group has one of Australia’s largest glasshouse facilities in Guyra, where they grow tomatoes. As part of the Connecting Costa Group projects, NBN access at both Costa Group facilities will be upgraded from Sky Muster Satellite to Fibre to the Premises. Granting $263,945 to the Elm St component and $256,073 to the New England Highway component, these projects will support expanded business operations for Costa Group, in turn providing benefits to the local economy by increasing opportunities for employment and regional output.
Ongoing improvements to the Regional Australia Network support the cause for relocation to our regions. Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack highlighted how important our regions are for all Australians, noting that the above projects are “particularly timely with Australians rushing to regional and rural communities in a fashion not seen in decades.”
“With more Austalians recognising the benefits of a regional life, the Government continues to make significant investments in mobile and broadband infrastructure to support this trend.” Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.
This is a huge win for our regions, for both residents and business, existing and future. At Inland Technology, we are excited to see the improved technology and connectivity operating in the areas we work and live.