nbn have released the guidelines for the $300 million Regional Co-investment Fund (RCIF), intended to further enhance broadband services for rural and regional households, businesses and communities to help meet the growing and diverse needs of Australians living in regional areas.

Regional Co-Investment Fund

The fund is designed to uplift digital capability in regional and remote areas, those outside capital cities that are served by nbn’s Fixed Wireless or Satellite infrastructure, by increasing the number of premises that can access technologies that support higher speeds. The types of projects that are eligible under the fund are:

  1. Satellite or Fixed Wireless areas to be switched to Fibre to the Premises, and
  2. Satellite areas to be switched to Fixed Wireless.

Other technology change options that may be considered on a case by case basis include scenarios where:

  • the majority of premises included in the application are currently connected via nbn™ Fixed Wireless or Satellite,
  • the upgrade does not overlap with nbn’s other programs or future network plans in that area,
  • the upgrade would deliver significant community benefit; and
  • the project is not located in any Urban Centre classified by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as ‘Major Urban’, i.e. with a population of 100,000 or more (as outlined in the guidelines).

Ineligible projects

Please note within the guidelines a number of activities that will not be eligible under the fund, this includes projects that target less than 50 premises or are under $500K total build cost.

Who can apply

All levels of government, including eligible local governments, are invited to co-invest alongside nbn to deliver improved broadband services to communities where those investments would otherwise be sub-commercial. nbn encourages all levels of governments, where possible, to work together and with nbn to maximise benefits for regional Australia.

Please find the guidelines, including eligibility criteria, on the nbn website.

Closing Date

The closing date for receipt of build estimate requests is 5pm (AEDST) on 1 October 2021, and the closing date for applications under the initial round is 5pm (AEDST) on 18 February 2022.