Continuing to improve regional communications

6-minute read
Further projects – co-funded by nbn, government and business – will help enhance connectivity across the country under the Regional Connectivity Program.

At nbn, our purpose is to lift the digital capability of Australia, enabling access to a fast, reliable broadband network for people right across the country.

While connectivity can easily be taken for granted and underappreciated in our cities and towns, we understand the importance of ensuring those who need it – no matter where they live – can make the most of access to fast broadband.

Through initiatives like the Australian Government’s Regional Connectivity Program (RCP), we’re helping to deliver enhanced connectivity under co-funded projects to be built in regional, rural and remote areas.

The RCP sees funding allocated to ‘place-based’ telecommunications infrastructure projects that help solve local connectivity issues.

Through initiatives like the Australian Government’s Regional Connectivity Program (RCP), we’re helping to deliver enhanced connectivity under co-funded projects to be built in regional, rural and remote areas.

As previously announced under Round One of the RCP, we’re delivering 18 projects together with Federal, State and Local Governments.

And we’re proud to be delivering new projects under Round Two of the RCP.

These progressively announced projects focus on areas of high economic and/or social value, and are outside the nbn® Fixed Line footprint, where better connectivity and increased data can have a clear benefit on the local region.

Some of the successful projects under Round Two include nbn Fixed Wireless, fibre and satellite broadband upgrades, with nbn awarded $37.9 million in Federal Government co-contributions to help deliver a further 10 projects.

The projects will deliver enhanced connectivity to around 4,000 homes and businesses over the nbn network including in some of the most remote areas of Australia.

nbn will invest $11.2 million, with a further $4.7 million to come from State and Local Governments. 

The Round Two projects

Boulia, Queensland

Number of premises anticipated to benefit: 122
Estimated Project value: $4,227,153
Co-funding bodies: Australian Government, Queensland State Government, Boulia Shire Council and nbn
boulia-shire-queensland

Famous for sightings of the Min Min Lights – mysterious shimmering lights that appear at night – Boulia (Pitta Pitta Country) is in the heart of the western Queensland Channel Country and is some of the finest beef producing land in Australia.

This project will see the nbn access technology in Boulia change from the nbn Sky Muster® satellite service to Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), providing better resilience against natural disasters. It will also help the community adapt to the significant tourist influx caused by the popular Boulia Camel Races, and further boost opportunities for education, health and other utilities.

Cunnamulla, Queensland

Number of premises anticipated to benefit: 601 
Estimated Project value: $7,689,295
Co-funding bodies: Australian Government, Queensland State Government, Paroo Shire Council and nbn
the-cunnamulla-fella-sky-muster-truck

The main setting for Henry Lawson's short story, The Hypnotised Township, Cunnamulla (Kunja Country) was popularised in the Slim Dusty song, The Cunnamulla Fella, commemorated with a statue in the town centre.

This project will see the nbn access technology in Cunnamulla change from the nbn Sky Muster satellite service to FTTP.

The administrative heart of the Paroo Shire, the change in access technology will greatly benefit agricultural and tourism industries while also bringing new educational and health options to the community. A vital stopping point for people travelling in Southern Queensland, Cunnamulla also boasts one of the best coffee stops in regional Queensland.

Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia

Number of premises anticipated to benefit: 267
Estimated Project value: $5,351,273
Co-funding bodies: Australian Government and nbn
fitzroy-river-geikie-gorge-western-australia
Fitzroy River and Geikie Gorge
The main hub for the many communities in the surrounding Fitzroy Valley, Fitzroy Crossing (Bunuba Country) is the perfect base from which to access the spectacular sights of Geikie Gorge, Mimbi Caves and Windjana Gorge.

This project will see the nbn access technology in Fitzroy Crossing change from the nbn Sky Muster satellite service to FTTP.

Due to its centralised location, Fitzroy Crossing is home to many regional services, including First Peoples’ community radio station, Wangki Yupurnanupurru Radio, a 24-hour diesel station, and shops – all of whom will benefit from this change of nbn access technology.

Julia Creek, Queensland

Number of premises anticipated to benefit: 254
Estimated Project value: $5,273,257
Co-funding bodies: Australian Government, McKinlay Shire Council and nbn
julia-creek-windmill

Home of the famous Dirt n Dust Festival, Julia Creek (Kalkadoon, Yulluna,Mitakoodi and Mayi Country) is an essential stop for people travelling from Townsville to Mount Isa, as well as home to the endangered Julia Creek Dunnart.

This project will see the nbn access technology in Julia Creek change from the nbn Sky Muster satellite service to FTTP, helping to improve access to telehealth services, provide greater business and educational productivity, and support social interaction, tourism, and key services and utilities.

Lameroo and Pinnaroo, South Australia

Number of premises anticipated to benefit: 934
Estimated Project value: $3,236,977
Co-funding bodies: Australian Government and nbn
streetscape-lameroo-and-pinnaroo
Image courtesy of Southern Mallee District Council

Located in South Australia’s Mallee region, Lameroo and Pinnaroo (Ngarkat Country) boast a thriving and diverse agriculture sector including broadacre farming, honey and turf production.

This project will see the nbn access technology in Lameroo and Pinnaroo change from the nbn Sky Muster satellite service to nbn Fixed Wireless.

As the area continues to strengthen in strategic significance as a centre for agriculture and associated industry development, improved broadband speeds will help in ways including stimulating new business innovation, employment and education, as well as helping district health services to continue and improve their telehealth offerings.

Mullewa, Western Australia

Number of premises anticipated to benefit: 246
Estimated Project value: $5,216,774
Co-funding bodies: Australian Government and nbn
wildflower-mullewa-western-australia
Wildflowers in Mullewa, Western Australia

The gateway to the Midwest’s Wildflower Country, Mullewa (Yamatji Country) is part of Australia’s Coral Coast tourism region and is renowned for the unique wreath flower, and stunning displays of everlastings and flowering shrubs along roadsides and in surrounding nature reserves.

This project will see the nbn access technology in Mullewa change from the nbn Sky Muster satellite service to FTTP, which – alongside the tourism benefits – will help the local agriculture, education, health and service industries.

Onslow, Western Australia

Number of premises anticipated to benefit: 392
Estimated Project value: $4,981,804
Co-funding bodies: Australian Government and nbn
onslow-western-australia
Coastline in Onslow, Western Australia

A coastal town in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, the economy in Onslow (Thalanyji Country) has transitioned from wool-driven to tourism, being an ideal access point for Coral Coast activities, including scuba diving on the reefs offshore from town.

This project will see the nbn access technology in Onslow change from the nbn Sky Muster satellite service to FTTP, helping to strengthen the town’s resilience to natural disasters, such as cyclones, while the rapid adoption of smart technology has resulted in changing expectations and requirements for visitors.

Quilpie, Queensland

Number of premises anticipated to benefit: 462
Estimated Project value: $6,085,012
Co-funding bodies: Australian Government, Queensland State Government, Quilpie Shire Council and nbn
quilpie-landscape-musta-8

Home to the ‘Jewel of the Outback’ – the beautiful boulder opal – in Quilpie (Bunthamurra and Mardgany Country), discover the spectacular Opal Altar, Font and Lectern at St Finbarr’s Church.

This project will see the nbn access technology in Quilpie change from the nbn Sky Muster satellite service to FTTP.

Enhanced broadband services will support many key industries in town, including health, education and tourism, with remote work opportunities vital for many properties to generate an off-farm revenue stream during drought.

Due to being the gateway to the Channel Country and South Australian Border, Quilpie also supports many transport and associated logistics businesses, including four livestock transport companies. 

Ravensthorpe, Western Australia

Number of premises anticipated to benefit: 223
Estimated Project value: $4,609,235
Co-funding bodies: Australian Government and nbn
ravensthorpe-western-australia

The Shire of Ravensthorpe (Ngaanyatjarra Country) is home to the Fitzgerald Biosphere, a UNESCO recognised biosphere of 330,000 hectares, boasting a diverse range of plant species including more than 2,500 varieties of wildflower.

This project will see the nbn access technology in Ravensthorpe change from the nbn Sky Muster satellite service to FTTP.

Ravensthorpe’s mix of mining, tourism and agriculture industries will benefit from this change in technology. The town is also the regional services and administration centre for the Shire, home to those including the district high school, hospital and health service, and airport. 

Sea Lake, Victoria

Number of premises anticipated to benefit: 428
Estimated Project value: $7,107,734
Co-funding bodies: Australian Government, Victorian State Government and nbn
sea-lake-silos
Image courtesy of the Shire of Buloke

Sea Lake (Wotjobaluk Country) is a small town on the southern shores of Lake Tyrell, Victoria’s largest salt lake covering 20,860 hectares. It’s a vital service town in Victoria’s important agricultural Mallee area and has a rapidly growing reputation as a renowned domestic and international tourism drawcard. 

This project will see the nbn access technology in Sea Lake change from the nbn Sky Muster satellite service to FTTP, and will help with its significant town revitalisation project, which sees Sea Lake aiming to become one of Australia’s best examples of bucking the trend of rural decline while offering important diversification in the local economy.

What’s next

Our participation in programs like the RCP means we can continue to help support the households and businesses in regional and remote Australian communities who need it most – helping improve access, empower digital capability, and deliver social and economic benefits.

Stay tuned for future updates as we bring you stories from both Round One and Round Two to share how project works are progressing, and the difference enhanced connectivity is making to locals and their communities.

Header image: Julia Creek, QLD. Image courtesy of McKinlay Shire Council.