The NSW Government has stumped up $100 million for the “Gig State” project to deliver new network infrastructure to boost internet capacity for regional communities and businesses.
Led by the newly formed Department of Regional NSW, its calling for expressions of interest from providers to pitch innovative digital solutions that will improve the price, quality of service and choice of digital connectivity services in locations including Wagga Wagga, Parkes and Dubbo.
It’s also looking for fibre solutions for residents in Sutton, Bywong and Wamboin. The services must be at the same or better standard than equivalent services in larger metropolitan cities.
The $100 million in Gig State funding was set aside in the State’s last budget.
Gig State would seek the “most effective and innovative ways” to upgrade the critical digital links for regional NSW, to ensure the growth and potential of regional communities limited by remote locations or lesser technology in an online world.
A recent NSW Government survey highlighted the day-to-day connectivity challenges experienced in regional communities – the majority of people reported issues with the speed and reliability of their service making work, running a business and educating children particularly challenging. All of these issues have been further highlighted by the impacts of COVID-19 and ‘social distancing’.
The Gig State project will start with the target locations, with the aim of extending the project to more regional areas, ensuring all communities have access to the same level of service and opportunities enjoyed in metropolitan centres.
The project is part of the $400 million Regional Digital Connectivity program, announced in 2019, which is focused on ensuring families and businesses in regional areas have better access to mobile, internet and digital services.
The EOI is the first step in the two-stage tender process for the Gig State project, with a ‘Request for Tender’ (RFT) to follow later this year.
Full details of the EOI are now available on the NSW Government’s eTendering website. The EOI will close at 9.30am on 2 June 2020.
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