The Alternative Voice Services Trials program was announced as part of the Government’s response to the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review, which identified a need to address the performance and longevity of the current high capacity radio concentrator networks.
The Government is providing $2 million in funding for the trials as part of the $220 million Stronger Regional Digital Connectivity Package.
The Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher says the program aims to encourage competition and assess technology options to deliver improved services for rural and remote communities.
“Alternative voice services could be delivered using existing or new radiocommunications and satellite technologies to deliver improved service quality, greater reliability, more redundancy and greater functionality,” Minister Fletcher said.
And Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, the Mark Coulton, said the trials will focus on rural and remote areas outside NBN Co’s fixed line footprint, including areas serviced by Telstra’s high capacity radio concentrator (HCRC) network.
“This is an opportunity for the telecommunications industry to demonstrate what it can offer consumers and I strongly encourage service providers to come forward and apply,” Minister Coulton said.
“I look forward to chairing a stakeholder reference group, which will provide an important sounding board for matters affecting rural and remote consumers.”
The program guidelines are available on GrantConnect, with applications closing on 14 September.