Applications open for $50m telco resilience program

Thursday, 24 August, 2023

Applications open for $50m telco resilience program

The Australian Government has officially opened applications for the $50 million Telecommunications Disaster Resilience Innovation (TDRI) program, to fund projects that improve the resilience of the telecommunications network during natural disasters — particularly in rural, regional, remote and First Nations communities.

Reliable communications coverage is vital in emergencies and natural disasters to ensure Australians can contact Triple Zero, receive emergency information, and stay in touch with family and friends. The TDRI program is set to accelerate the development and deployment of new and innovative solutions to address communications issues during natural disasters. There are two concurrent rounds of the program that are now open for applications:

  • The $30 million Power Resilience Round will fund solutions that reduce the impacts of power outages — the leading cause of telecommunications disruptions during natural disasters. This includes standalone off-grid power solutions, deployable power supplies, and technology to extend how long backup power gives to telco infrastructure.
  • The $20 million Innovation Round will fund innovative earlier-stage technologies to improve the resiliency, redundancy and availability of telecommunications during disasters. This includes new or enhanced satellite connectivity — like low Earth orbit satellites — and new ways to monitor networks and share critical information with emergency services.

“The new Telecommunications Disaster Resilience Innovation program will fund a wide range of innovative local projects across Australia to reduce the likelihood of telco outages during disasters,” said Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland. “I strongly encourage the sector to engage with communities across the country to develop and submit proposals that will ensure Australians are able to stay connected when they need it most.”

Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt added that the TDRI program is “another step in the Albanese government’s plan to ensure we’re better prepared for disasters, through investments in mitigation and resilience works, upgraded warning systems and more reliable communication systems”. It is part of the government’s $1.1 billion Better Connectivity Plan for Regional and Rural Australia, and complements work taken by the government to boost the resilience of ABC broadcasting towers (through the Broadcasting Resilience Program) and mobile networks (through the Mobile Network Hardening Program).

Grants are generally available for mobile network operators (MNOs), mobile network infrastructure providers (MNIPs), NBN Co, and companies with an ABN with relevant expertise or experience. Applications for both streams are open until 5 pm AEDT on 20 October 2023. For more information, click here.

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