$30 million in on-farm connectivity a budget highlight
The Albanese government says it will spend over five years $2.2 billion in regional telecommunications and $2.4 billion to enable better fibre access to the National Broadband Network (NBN).
Communications Minister Michelle Rowland told Flow that nationwide 1.5 million premises would have improved NBN by late 2025, of which some 660,000 will be in regional areas:
"These investments are investment in people, productivity and also the equity that we so desperately need across this country."
The Minister highlighted a specific spending program to enable farmers to use the latest technology on-farm:
"We've got $30 million to expand on-farm connectivity - I'm sure many of your listeners who are producing food and fibre recognise the importance of digitisation on their farms. This is utilising that technology and driving productivity through machine-to-machine networks."
The five-year funding commitments are not broken down by year in the Budget Papers, with budgets only committing over four-year cycles meaning it may fall to the next government to conclude funding of the promised programs.
Similarly, the 660,000 regional premises to benefit from better NBN connectivity may not necessarily be evenly spread beyond metropolitan areas, as it will be determined by tender process.
Likewise, the exact locations where black spots will be resolved will now be determined through committed funding rounds.