Photo caption: Federal Member for Parkes and Regional Communications Minister Mark Coulton, FSG CEO Andrew Roberts and Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey.
People living and working in Gunnedah shire can now look forward to new and improved telecommunications services thanks to the Federal Government’s Regional Connectivity Program (RCP).
The $90 million program is delivering 81 place-based digital connectivity solutions in regional Australia through a range of mobile and broadband services.
Federal Member for Parkes and Regional Communications Minister Mark Coulton today announced the details of the project in the Gunnedah Local Government Area (LGA), being delivered by Field Solutions Group, which will provide high-speed broadband through a fixed wireless network, comprising of 10 greenfield 45 metre towers and two co-locations.
“I’m thrilled that residents and businesses in Gunnedah will enjoy the benefits and opportunities that improved digital connectivity brings,” Minister Coulton said.
“Field Solutions Group has received more than $3.9 million in Commonwealth Government funding for the project, which will provide people in Gunnedah, as well as those in neighbouring areas in the Liverpool Plains and Tamworth LGAs, with access to improved broadband services and data, delivering fast, affordable and reliable connectivity.
“This will help keep our businesses connected, our families stay in touch and mean we can better access health, education and online services on the go.
“It’s great to see this project is part of a broader network of coverage that FSG will provide to solve connectivity issues, not only within the Parkes electorate in Moree Plains and Warren LGAs, but across Australia, thanks to a total of $20.5 million in funding through the RCP.”
FSG specialises in delivering connectivity solutions to rural, regional and remote Australia and over the past four years has developed and operates the largest national non-NBN fixed wireless network.
With the Federal Government’s support under the RCP, FSG will deliver new networks in 12 traditionally underserviced areas across Australia, where true broadband and general connectivity services are greatly lacking.
“FSG’s community approach to building telecommunications infrastructure has been recognised as a viable, cost-effective and forward-looking way of delivering true broadband solutions for rural, regional and remote areas,” FSG CEO Andrew Roberts said.
“Our aim is to deliver feature-rich, quality telecommunications services, equivalent to what is available in metropolitan areas.”
Minister Coulton said the RCP is part of the Coalition Government’s ongoing commitment to bring the digital economy to the regions, complementing the National Broadband Network and the Mobile Black Spot Program.
“The Regional Connectivity Program is providing targeted upgrades to connectivity in regional areas that need it the most, ensuring that more Australians can access high-speed, reliable broadband and mobile services,” Minister Coulton said.
“The Government is listening to the digital needs of regional communities and businesses, and has used the RCP to design and deliver place-based solutions that solve rural connectivity issues.
“We’re doing things differently and looking at a range of innovative approaches to ensure we fill the gaps in blackspot areas across the country.
“The Government has taken a collaborative approach in delivering the RCP and has engaged with the telecommunications industry and regional communities to make sure the funded projects are tailored to the needs and priorities of each region and are supported by the local community.”
The Federal Government is contributing $90.3 million to the RCP, generating total new investment of more than $164 million through co-contributions from funding recipients, state and territory governments and other third parties, such as local governments, regional businesses and community development organisations.
The program is a key component of the Government’s response to the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review, and the delivery of successful projects under the program will begin in the coming weeks with projects expected to be completed by June 2022.