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Federal govt funds 33 telecom projects in regional Australia

Through the program, the Federal Government will provide funding for 33 projects to boost telecommunications network resilience in regional Australia.

The Federal Government is set to provide funding to rural, regional and remote communities for projects to boost telecommunications network resilience through its Telecommunications Disaster Resilience Innovation (TDRI) program.

Through the Innovation Round ($11.3 million) and the Power Resilience Round ($6.1 million), a total of $17.4 million will go towards 33 projects across a range of areas to develop and deploy innovative, new or emerging telecommunications technologies.

Projects that will receive grant funding include:

  • Deployment of hybrid back-up standalone power solutions that use combinations of renewable energy, fuel and batteries, including at nine sites across Australia
  • New portable generators to support telecommunications resilience
  • Piloting of innovative uses of satellite communications, including for use as backup to terrestrial telecommunications
  • Seven deployable telecommunications projects, including wide-area WiFi networks and other communications technologies, to support connectivity around Australia

Successful applicants were recommended for funding following rigorous assessment against the grant guidelines by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts. The government has accepted all funding recommendations made by the Department.

The government is seeking further options from the Department on how best to allocate the remaining program funds to support greater connectivity and resilience in rural, regional and remote Australia.

The TDRI program is part of the Federal Government’s Better Connectivity Plan, which is delivering investments to improve mobile and broadband connectivity in regional Australia, including through recent rounds of the Regional Connectivity and Mobile Black Spots Programs and the new On Farm Connectivity Program.

Federal Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland, said that access to telecommunications coverage during a natural disaster can be the difference between life and death and the Federal Government’s investment will help to save lives.

“While no network is ever 100 per cent disaster-proof, the government is determined to do what we can to boost the resilience of our telecommunications networks when Australians need them most,” Ms Rowland said.

“The TDRI program is funding power initiatives and encouraging innovation to improve connectivity before, during and after natural disasters, helping our regions to prepare, respond, and recover better than ever before.”

Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt, said that the government knows that during disasters, conditions on the ground can change rapidly.

“Being able to receive emergency information and maintain contact with family, friends and neighbours is crucial,” Mr Watt said.

“The TDRI program is ensuring Australians are better prepared for disasters, through investments in more resilient and reliable communication.

“This is another important step in the Federal Government’s plan to ensure Australia is better prepared for future disasters, by protecting our telecommunications infrastructure to be match-fit in an emergency.” Utility Magazine

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