- McGowan Government will invest $48.6 million to expand and upgrade mobile and broadband coverage and services throughout the regions
- Investment will leverage nearly $100 million of Federal and private sector funds to boost regional digital connectivity
The McGowan Government is investing $48.6 million as part of the 2022-23 State Budget to improve mobile and internet coverage in regional areas around the State.
The new WA Regional Digital Connectivity Program will see mobile phone coverage expanded and high grade, flexible broadband services delivered to regional businesses and communities - from the Kimberley to the south coast.
The program is targeting co-investment from the Federal Government and the private sector for a suite of telecommunications projects valued at $145 million.
The funding will progress solutions to bridge the 'digital divide' in the regions, including new mobile base stations and fixed wireless infrastructure, upgrading the capacity and performance of existing telecommunication assets, trialling new technologies and improving connectivity for disadvantaged communities.
The new program will drive regional business growth, providing the quality infrastructure required to operate in today's fast paced, interconnected global marketplace, as well as connectivity for Internet of Things applications.
The investment will assist WA's primary producers and other regional enterprises to become more efficient and competitive, while creating new opportunities for business growth and innovation in the regions.
It will underpin access to emergency services, telehealth and other government and businesses services in regional WA, in addition to improving liveability in the regions with fast access to social and entertainment products.
Part of the State's funding commitment will go towards Round Two of the Federal Government's Regional Connectivity Program, which will see new and upgraded broadband and mobile connectivity in regional and remote WA.
The WA Regional Digital Connectivity Program builds on the McGowan Government's successful Regional Telecommunications Project and the WA Digital Farm Grants Program, which are delivering mobile and fixed wireless broadband coverage across 243,000 square kilometres of the State.
Comments attributed to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"The WA Regional Digital Connectivity Program is an important budget investment, improving and expanding telecommunications services to our valuable primary industries, regional businesses and communities throughout our State.
"This initiative is targeting co-investment of more than $2 for every $1 invested by the State Government to ensure regional businesses and communities have access to quality mobile coverage and internet services.
"Our reliance on digital connectivity has grown by 50 per cent in WA since the start of the pandemic and continued investment in regional telecommunications is required to support working from home, home schooling, telehealth, supply chains and biosecurity.
"This program continues to build on the great work of our team in partnering with all tiers of government, telecommunications providers, industry and the community to bridge the 'digital divide' and ensure regional WA residents and businesses can access the services they need."
Minister's office - 6552 6200