This is a combined grant opportunity, bringing together the Mobile Black Spot Program and the Regional Connectivity Program in two streams, and providing dedicated First Nations funding:
- The $50 million Mobile Black Spot (Round 7) stream will provide grant funding to Mobile Network Operators and infrastructure providers to deliver new hand-held mobile coverage to rural, regional and remote locations across Australia.
- The $100 million Regional Connectivity (Round 3) stream will provide grant funding to projects that will deliver place-based new or improved broadband services and/or improved mobile services in eligible locations across Australia.
- Both streams include dedicated funding to improve telecommunications infrastructure in First Nations communities. $22.5 million is identified in this round to support solutions that contribute towards achieving Target 17 of the Closing the Gap initiative, which aims to ensure First Nations people have equal levels of digital inclusion by 2026.
This competitive grant opportunity is targeting under-served regions across Australia that are outside major urban centres (i.e. outside areas with more than 100,000 people). This includes inner regional areas like Blue Mountains and the Adelaide Hills, to remote communities in the north of Western Australia, Central Australia, and Far North Queensland. The Guidelines specify the detailed eligibility criteria for each stream.
Applicants, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), communities and other interested parties are encouraged to work together during the application development period to develop multi-MNO solutions, including solutions that use active sharing technologies. This ensures that communities receive the maximum benefit from public funding of new infrastructure.
Applications for this combined grant opportunity close on 31 May 2023. To apply, visit: grants.gov.au.
This opportunity is part of the Australian Government’s Better Connectivity Plan for Regional and Rural Australia which is providing more than $1.1 billion to rural and regional communities, including $656 million to improve mobile and broadband connectivity and resilience in rural and regional Australia.