What will the program deliver?
The Regional Digital Connectivity program will ensure families and businesses across regional NSW have better access to mobile, internet and digital services.
The program will address the digital divide between metropolitan centres and regional NSW. It will do this through large-scale investment in digital infrastructure such as mobile phone infrastructure, regional data hubs and increasing the regional fibre network.
The program is focused on the following three priority areas:
Mobile Coverage – to eliminate mobile black spots where people live and work through investment in resilient mobile phone infrastructure and emerging technologies to deliver future-proof regional mobile coverage;
Gig State – to bring metro-level internet speeds to regional NSW through investment in network infrastructure including data hubs; and
Farms of the Future – to enable farmers and agribusinesses to use agricultural technologies (ag tech) for increased productivity and resource management such as water monitoring.
The $400 million Regional Digital Connectivity program is in addition to the Connecting Country Communities Fund that has helped deliver 120 new regional mobile towers in NSW.
Investment in large-scale digital infrastructure is a new area for the NSW Government. Detailed planning and scoping studies are well underway to ensure robust solutions are delivered across the three streams.
The Department of Regional NSW is developing detailed scoping studies, assessing emerging technologies and services to ensure a resilient solution that maintains mobile phone service through the harsher aspects of the Australian climate, like fire and flood, is delivered.
The Department is also working with the Commonwealth Government and industry stakeholders on identified black spots and to ensure this vital infrastructure complements past and future investment.
Gig State project
The $100 million Gig State project is currently going through a two-stage open tender process to deliver improved internet speed, prices and service quality in the target locations Wagga Wagga, Parkes, Dubbo and a corridor west to Cobar. The program will also deliver a fibre solution to the communities of Sutton, Bywong and Wamboin.
An ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI) was released in April 2020 and closed in June 2020. The department is now considering the industry feedback received and is on track to proceed with the ‘Request for Tender’ (RFT) later in 2020.
Farms of the Future pilot
Announced in August 2020, the Farms of the Future pilot program is testing connectivity solutions and field sensor technology on three pilot farms to showcase the benefits and opportunities agricultural technology (ag tech) can deliver for farmers.
The pilot farms in Blayney, Coonamble and Narromine will help assess the connectivity required to ensure ag tech can work across regional NSW, to help farmers improve productivity and manage important resources like water.
A series of webinars and virtual field days will be held to showcase the technology and present insights, giving farmers an opportunity to learn more.
Further updates on the status of the program will follow.
For questions about the program, please contact: RDC.email@example.com