Wednesday, 25 November 2020 04:57

Victoria to spend $626m on mobile coverage, broadband access Featured

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas presenting the state budget on Tuesday. Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas presenting the state budget on Tuesday. Courtesy YouTube

The Victorian Government will spend $626 million on a Digital Future Now initiative to improve mobile coverage and broadband access in regional areas and supporting businesses by creating new jobs in the process.

Announced as part of the state budget, which was presented by Treasurer Tim Pallas on Tuesday, this includes $250 million to co-fund business‐grade broadband connectivity for Victorian suburbs and regional towns through the Gigabit State program. This program will be jointly delivered with the Federal Government.

According to the budget papers, "Gigabit State will address gaps in the availability of reliable high‐speed fibre optic and wireless broadband services for business users – helping them find new customers and new markets".

The program will cover upgrades in regional towns with satellite and fixed wireless services, giving them broadband access.

The creation of this broadband infrastructure is forecast to support about 2000 jobs.

Additionally, the state has committed to spend up to $300 million to fix mobile blackspots in regional populated areas.

"This investment remains subject to a co‐contribution from the Commonwealth, which has responsibility for our nation’s telecommunications network," the budget papers said.

Also announced was expenditure of $64 million on a Digital Skills and Jobs Program, which is meant to help unemployed Victorians take up digital skills training or a digital internship in order that they can find jobs.

"This ground‐breaking investment will assist 5000 unemployed workers into a potential new career, helping them to retrain and re-skill, with a strong focus on supporting women," according to the budget papers.

The state has also set aside $191 million for rebates on solar panel systems and battery storage for homes and small businesses.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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