Govt opens consultation on comms resilience program


Friday, 21 April, 2023

Govt opens consultation on comms resilience program

The federal government is looking to deliver on its commitment to improve the resilience of communications services across regional, rural and remote Australia, with consultation now open on the draft guidelines for Round 2 of the Mobile Network Hardening Program (MNHP).

The program aims to reduce the risks of service outages and improve restoration times during natural disasters in impacted communities by funding projects like portable generators, power backup upgrades and physical tower hardening. Round 1 of the program was funded through the government’s Strengthening Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters Initiative, announced in January 2020.

Funding for further rounds of the MNHP was confirmed in the October 2022–23 Budget as part of the government’s Better Connectivity Plan for Regional and Rural Australia. The design of the second round will be informed by feedback from regional Australians, community groups and the telco industry to ensure the final guidelines meet the needs of communities at risk of natural disasters.

“Australians deserve world-class connectivity, no matter where they live or work. In times of crisis, access to reliable connectivity can literally be a matter of life and death,” said Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland.

“While no telecommunications network can ever be 100% disaster-proof, the Albanese government is determined to reduce the risk of communications outages during natural disasters.

“I strongly encourage regional Australians, community groups and the telco industry to have their say on these draft guidelines to ensure the MNHP delivers the resilience measures at-risk communities need.”

Round 1 of the MNHP funded approximately 1000 projects nationwide, with 461 already complete. Consultation on the Round 2 guidelines is open until 30 May — to view the draft guidelines or make a submission, visit www.infrastructure.gov.au/have-your-say.

Image credit: iStock.com/davidf

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