Led by the newly formed Department of Regional NSW (DRNSW), the NSW Government is calling for ‘Expressions of Interest’ (EOI) from providers to pitch innovative digital solutions that will” improve the price, quality of service and choice” in the target locations of Wagga Wagga, Parkes, Dubbo, and a corridor west to Cobar, as well as a fibre solution for residents in Sutton, Bywong and Wamboin.
The Government says Gig State will seek the most effective and innovative ways to upgrade the critical digital links for regional NSW to deliver improved digital services, “ensuring the potential of regional communities, businesses and local economies is not limited by geography and technology in an increasingly online world”.
A recent NSW Government survey highlighted the day-to-day connectivity challenges experienced in regional communities, with the majority of people reporting issues with the speed and reliability of their service making work, running a business and educating children particularly challenging.
The Government says all of these issues have been further highlighted by the impacts of COVID-19 and ‘social distancing’.
In an announcement on Wednesday, the Government says the Gig State project will start with the target locations, with the aim of extending the project to more of regional NSW, ensuring regional communities have access to the same level of service and opportunties enjoyed in metropolitan centres.
“The NSW Government is focused on making regional NSW resilient – whether its rebuilding after bushfires, new dams to drought proof the state, or thinking ahead to a post-COVID-19 economy,” the statement says.
“Gig State is part of the $400 million Regional Digital Connectivity program, announced in 2019, which is focused on ensuring families and businesses across regional NSW have better access to mobile, internet and digital services.
“The EOI is the first step in the two-stage tender process for the Gig State project, with a ‘Request for Tender’ (RFT) to follow later this year.”