Sweet 16: projects enhancing regional connectivity

7-minute read
Sixteen new projects – co-funded by nbn, government and business – will help enhance connectivity across the country.

Updated: 12 October 2021

An additional two locations will be co-funded by nbn and government to help enhance connectivity across the country, bringing the total number of eligible locations to 18.

Customers across regional, rural and remote Australia are set to benefit from enhanced connectivity over the nbn™ network, thanks to projects co-funded under the first round of the Regional Connectivity Program (RCP).

An Australian government initiative, the RCP sees funding allocated to ‘place-based’ telecommunications infrastructure projects that help solve local connectivity issues.

And in great news for those living and working in some of the country’s regional, rural and remote areas, 16 nbn projects have been approved for almost $28 million in RCP funding.

nbn will also contribute more than $23 million towards the important projects as part of its continued commitment to providing regional Australians with access to high-speed broadband.*

“This is a significant outcome for rural and remote Australia and comes at a time when it has never been more important for residents and businesses to be able to access those benefits made available through improved connectivity,” says Gavin Williams, Chief Development Officer, Regional and Remote at nbn.

So, what exactly are these projects, where are they based, and who will benefit?

The projects

Alpha, Queensland

Number of premises to benefit: 263
Project value: $4,150,883
Co-funding bodies: RCP, Barcaldine Regional Council, nbn

Known as the ‘Gateway to the West’, Alpha (Iningai Country) is located in Outback Queensland and is famous for its petrified wood and murals.

This project will see the nbn™ access technology in Alpha change to FTTP.

Through this project, eligible premises in Alpha will gain access to the highest available wholesale speed plans via services over the nbn™ network, with a choice of speeds of close to 1Gbps.*†

Augathella and Morven, Queensland

morven-queensland
Morven, Queensland.
Number of premises to benefit: 322
Project value: $6,052,190
Co-funding bodies: RCP, Murweh Shire Council, nbn

Located in Outback Queensland, Augathella and Morven (Bidjara Country) are towns in Murweh Shire, which is becoming a key centre for industry development.

This project will see the nbn™ access technology in Augathella and Morven change to FTTP.

Eligible local businesses will also be able to access business nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet, which offers symmetrical speeds of close to 1Gbps.*†

Geeveston, Tasmania

Number of premises to benefit: 260
Project value: $2,229,606
Co-funding bodies: RCP, nbn

One of the southernmost towns in the Huon Valley, Geeveston (Melukerdee Country) is known for its rich farming land, forests and mountain backdrop.

This project will see the nbn™ access technology in Geeveston change to FTTP.

The upgrade will support improved connectivity for a number of local industries, as well as for health centres and local schools, according to the RCP.

Halls Creek, Western Australia

china-wall-halls-creek-wa
China Wall, Halls Creek, Western Australia.
Number of premises to benefit: 535
Project value: $5,517,998
Co-funding bodies: RCP, Western Australian government, nbn

Located on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert in East Kimberley, Halls Creek (Jaru, Kija, Kukatja, Walmajarri, and Gooniyandi Country) is the springboard to natural wonders including World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park and Bungle Bungle Range.

This project will see the nbn™ access technology in Halls Creek change to FTTP.

According to the RCP, the upgrade will provide improved broadband connectivity to support the delivery of essential services, such as skills training, education and health services to the town and surrounding areas, as well as supporting business opportunities in tourism, mining and civil construction. 

Hopetoun, Victoria

Number of premises to benefit: 395
Project value: $4,173,775
Co-funding bodies: RCP, Victorian Government, nbn

Nestled in the Southern Mallee region, Hopetoun (Wotjobaluk Country) has a strong agricultural history and is home to Lake Corrong and Lake Lascelles.

This project will see the nbn™ access technology in Hopetoun change to FTTP.

The upgrade will provide improved connectivity to increase the economic competitiveness of the region and enable more efficient service delivery in the wider Southern Mallee area.

Kaniva, Victoria

Number of premises to benefit: 495
Project value: $4,209,253
Co-funding bodies: RCP, Victorian Government, nbn

Situated halfway between Melbourne and Adelaide, Kaniva (Wotjobaluk Country) is home to The Big Windmill and the Sheep Art Trail.

This project will see the nbn™ access technology in Kaniva change to FTTP.

The upgrade will provide improved connectivity to support local agricultural and tourism businesses, as well as a number of community facilities providing health, education, post and emergency services to residents.

Murchison, Victoria

murchison-victoria
Murchison Bridge. Image by Mattinbgn (talk · contribs), CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
Number of premises to benefit: 409
Project value: $5,867,591
Co-funding bodies: RCP, Victorian Government, nbn

Dubbed the ‘River Bank Garden Town’, Murchison (Yorta Yorta Country) lies on the banks of the Goulburn River, 35 kilometres south of Shepparton.

This project will see the nbn™ access technology in Murchison change to FTTP, with the upgrade set to provide improved connectivity to support local orchard, vineyard and dairy farm activities, as well as the delivery of health and education services to the community, according to the RCP.

Rushworth, Victoria

Number of premises to benefit: 576
Project value: $5,601,844
Co-funding bodies: RCP, Victorian Government, nbn

Located 181km north of Melbourne, Rushworth (Dja Dja Wurrung, Taungurung and Yorta Yorta Country) is a former gold mining town.

This project will see the nbn™ access technology in Rushworth change to FTTP.

The upgrade will provide improved connectivity to support growth opportunities in tourism and health services, as well as increasing access to other essential services, says the RCP.

Surat, Queensland

surat-queensland
The Cobb & Co Changing Station. Image by Mattinbgn, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
Number of premises to benefit: 317
Project value: $3,356,410
Co-funding bodies: RCP, Maranoa Regional Council, nbn

Home to the Cobb & Co Changing Station, Surat (Mandandanji Country) is located in Outback Queensland close to the banks of the Balonne River.

This project will see the nbn™ access technology in Surat change to FTTP.

The upgrade will support growth opportunities in a number of sectors, particularly tourism, and will improve health, education and public safety connectivity in the community, according to the RCP.

Teesdale, Victoria

Number of premises to benefit: 551
Project value: $7,506,331
Co-funding bodies: RCP, Victorian Government, nbn

Described as a ‘vibrant country community’, Teesdale (Wadawurrung Country) is known for the six nature reserves in and around town.

This project will see the nbn™ access technology in Teesdale change to FTTP.

The upgrade will provide improved connectivity to support population growth in the town, as well as enabling access to new agricultural, business and education and training technologies for local businesses and residents, according to the RCP.

Timboon, Victoria

Number of premises to benefit: 532
Project value: $6,190,500
Co-funding bodies: RCP, Victorian Government, nbn

Known for its award-winning produce, Timboon (Djargurd Wurrung Country) is the picturesque wooded valley located along the Great Ocean Road.

This project will see the nbn™ access technology in Timboon change to FTTP.

The RCP says the upgrade will provide improved connectivity to support growth opportunities in tourism and hospitality, as well as existing dairying, forestry and lime production operations.

Wudinna, South Australia

mount-wudinna-sa
Mount Wudinna, on the outskirts of Wudinna, South Australia.
Number of premises to benefit: 377
Project value: $4,654,620
Co-funding bodies: RCP, South Australian Government, Wudinna District Council, nbn

Home to ‘The Australian Farmer’ statue, carved from local granite, Wudinna (Barngarla Country) resides on the state’s stunning Eyre Peninsula.

This project will see the nbn™ access technology in Wudinna change to FTTP. The upgrade will improve access to online education and health services, expand economic opportunities and increase connectedness and digital capabilities in the community.

Yirrkala, Northern Territory

Number of premises to benefit: 173
Project value: $3,384,367
Co-funding bodies: RCP, East Arnhem Regional Council, nbn

Located in north-east Arnhem Land, Yirrkala (Rirratjingu Country) lies on the east coast of the Gove peninsula.

This project will see the nbn™ access technology in Yirrkala change to FTTP.

According to the RCP, the upgrade will support economic diversification opportunities in cultural tourism, creative industries and the health sector, as well as improving access to telehealth and education services. 

Costa Group, Guyra and Falconer, New South Wales

Number of premises to benefit: 2
Project value: $572,745
Co-funding bodies: RCP and Armidale Regional Council

Australia’s leading grower, packer and marketer of fresh fruit and vegetables, Costa Group employs more than 700 people across its two regional sites in Guyra and Falconer (Anaiwan Country), annually spending around $31 million on wages and salaries for the local economy.

This project will see the nbn™ access technology at Costa Group change to FTTP, as well as enable its sites to access business nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet.

The upgrade will support expanded business operations at the facility, including in administration, research and horticultural production, with benefits to the local economy through increased employment opportunities and regional output, according to the RCP.

What’s next

Stay tuned for updates in future blogs as we follow the progress of these 16 exciting projects.

Get set to join us behind the scenes as the work unfolds, hear from our people on the ground, and meet some of the locals benefiting from the improved connectivity.

“This has been a truly collaborative effort between NBN Co, businesses and all levels of government,” says Gavin.

“It is a testament to what can be achieved when we work together and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to continuing to improve broadband services for Australia’s rural and regional communities.”

Gavin Williams, Chief Development Officer, Regional and Remote at nbn.
We also continue to welcome additional opportunities to work with other regional communities to help deliver access to higher speed wholesale broadband services over the nbn™ network across Australian through our co-investment fund.

Two additional projects

Updated 12 October 2021

Lewiston East, South Australia

Number of premises to benefit: 750
Project value: $7,097311
Co-funding bodies: The Commonwealth and nbn 

Located around 56 kilometres north of Adelaide’s city centre, Lewiston East (Kaurna Country) is a semi-rural animal and crop farming area.

This project will see the nbn™ access technology in Lewiston East change to FTTP.

Through this project, eligible premises in Lewiston East will gain access to the highest available wholesale speed plans via services over the nbn™ network, with a choice of speeds of close to 1Gbps.*†

Birregurra, Victoria

Number of premises to benefit: 373
Project value: $9,431,842
Co-funding bodies: State Government of Victoria, nbn

Birregurra (Gulidjan and Gadubanud Country) is a rural town in Victoria between Geelong and Colac. With its railway once the lifeblood of the local timber industry back in the early 1900s, today, Birregurra remains a unique township in the Otways hinterland.

This project will see the nbn™ access technology in Birregurra change to FTTP.

Through this project, eligible premises in Birregurra will gain access to the highest available wholesale speed plans via services over the nbn™ network, with a choice of speeds of close to 1Gbps.*†

* An end customer’s experience, including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn™ network, depends on the nbn™ access network technology and configuration over which services are delivered to your premises, whether you are using the internet during the busy period, and some factors outside nbn’s control (like your equipment quality, software, broadband plan, signal reception and how your service provider designs its network). Speeds may also be impacted by the number of concurrent users on the nbn™ Fixed Wireless network, including during busy periods. Satellite end customers may also experience latency.

† Regardless of the retail service you purchase, the actual wholesale speeds delivered by the business nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet product will be no more than 952Mbps due to equipment and network limitations. If your service provider has not selected the 'Class of Service – High', the speeds you experience may be affected by contention on the nbn™ network, particularly in busy periods.