Digital Farm Grants program

Page last updated: Monday, 12 October 2020 - 8:09am

Round three of the Digital Farm Grants program - now open

The $7 million Digital Farm Grants program – Round 3 is providing funding for last-mile solutions for agribusinesses in agricultural and pastoral regions that lie outside the current or planned NBN fixed wireless and fixed line footprint.

The State Government is committed to supporting the widespread adoption of digital farm technologies to help drive better digital connectivity to improve business and agricultural productivity by providing business-grade connectivity for regional WA.


The program aims to advance telecommunications and technology in WA's farming sector by:
 

  • expanding mobile coverage
  • providing fast, reliable, affordable and scalable broadband necessary to support digital farming practices
  • enabling farming businesses to access smart farming and productivity enhancing technologies to improve productivity and output, making businesses internationally competitive.

Round three

Application

The base criteria of the program requires a $1 Proponent contribution for every $1 of State funding requested. However, less than this amount in co-contributions from Proponents is acceptable, providing Proponents submit a clearly-documented case to justify the request. This potential concession is designed to encourage submissions that will serve more remote agricultural regions that are typically further from existing telecommunications assets and often less-intensively farmed.

The Department may provide information and referrals that could assist your proposal development activities during the application period. This includes information on farms and farming groups within a local area, and information on potential access to telecommunication infrastructures and/or its supporting infrastructure in your chosen project area, if available.

Grant funding will be provided to a Proponent, nominated consortium or entity and can only be used for capital expenditures and development costs to improve connectivity to Agribusinesses, residents and other potential stakeholders in one of the approximate three priority coverage areas in the Central, South East and Esperance Grainbelt regions of WA.

As there will be a need to operate the telecommunication network after the project build phase, the Proponent must be a licensed carrier under the Telecommunications Act 1997 (Commonwealth).

Applications will be evaluated on the number of agribusinesses covered and the ongoing sustainability of the network as an operational commercial entity. As such, the applicant’s ability to attract other potential customers and investors; and ability to provide price competitive digital connectivity services, creating jobs will also be assessed.

Eligibility

  1. Network proposed, at a minimum, should provide a baseline download capability of 80Mbps and upload capability of 40Mbps at the customer’s premises.
  2. The Proponent must hold a valid carrier licence under the Telecommunications Act 1997 (Commonwealth), and thereby be authorised to provide carriage services to the public.
  3. Proposals must be located in one of the approximate three priority coverage areas in the Central, South East and Esperance Grainbelt regions of WA.
  4. Proposals must improve connectivity for farming businesses that are not currently serviced by the www.nbnco.com.au/learn/rollout-map, with an exception of a 20 percent overlap permitted.
  5. Proposals must not propose services in areas covered by projects being delivered under current Digital Farm Grants Programs or any new or existing fixed wireless areas with an exception of a 20 percent overlap permitted.
  6. Proponents must demonstrate at least 25 agribusinesses are serviced in a Proposal.
  7. Co-investment from proponents is required – refer to the Program Guidelines.
  8. Proposals must detail the commercial viability and profitability of the proposed Network.

Additional information

The Program Guidelines provide details on the application, eligibility criteria, assessment process, project management requirements and other relevant information.

Should an applicant be successful, a Financial Assistance Agreement will be executed between the applicant and the Department. A sample of the Financial Assistance Agreement template is provided for reference.

____________________________________________________________________

How to apply

The Digital Farm Grants program - Round 3 is now open with applications closing on Friday 20 November 2020 at 5.00pm (AWST). 

Applicants are encouraged to refer to the Program Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions, and contact the Agricultural Technology team members prior to submission. Please note that the Department is not liable for the advice provided.

You can lodge your application via the SmartyGrants portal.

____________________________________________________________________

Contact us

For more information, please call one of our Agricultural Technology team members on +61 (08) 6552 2133 or +61 (08) 6552 2032 for assistance.

All enquiries can also be emailed to digital.farm@dpird.wa.gov.au