Australian govt launches Telecommunications Disaster Resilience Innovation programme


Grants of up to A$5 million (USD $3.24 million) will be available to projects that help to boost network reliability in the face of natural disasters

This week, the Australian government has opened applications for the Telecommunications Disaster Resilience Innovation (TDRI) programme, which will make up to A$50 million (USD $32.42 million) available to support telco networks remain functional during natural disasters.

The TDRI programme is split into two rounds: the Power Resilience Round and the Innovation Round.

The former, comprising A$30 million (USD $19.45 million) of the total funding, will focus on projects aiming to help telco networks’ power supplies become more reliable in the face of natural disasters.

The government notes that power outages are the leading cause of telecoms disruption during natural disasters in Australia.

The second funding pool, containing the remaining A$20 million (USD $12.97 million), is less specific, available for any projects seeking to improve the resiliency, redundancy, and availability of telecoms networks following natural disasters.

Applicants can include mobile network operators, mobile network infrastructure providers, and NBN Co (the state-run National Broadband Network), as well as Australian solution providers.

Each project can be awarded up to A$5 million (USD $3.24 million).

“Access to telecommunications coverage during a natural disaster can be the difference between life and death,” said Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland. “While no network is ever 100% disaster-proof, the Albanese government is determined to do what we can to boost the resilience of our telecommunications networks.

“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.

The application process closes on 20 October 2023, with the TDRI itself set to run from 2023 to 2025.

The TDRI programme is part of the Australian government’s far larger Better Connectivity Plan for Regional and Rural Australia scheme, which includes a total of A$1.1 billion (USD $710 million) for rural connectivity projects.

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