Government offers $13.6 million to establish NBN-inspired Digital Hubs

More than $13 million has been set aside for the Federal Government’s Digital Hubs program, designed to highlight the opportunities presented by the National Broadband Network.

 

The program, administered by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, will receive funding of $13.6 million over three years.

 

The funding for each round is linked to the NBN rollout schedule and the first 40 communities to benefit from it. Funding under round two will be available to communities across the country.

 

The program is designed to provide residents in these communities with training in digital literacy skills, enabling them to participate in the NBN-enabled digital economy.

 

The digital hubs are also expected to demonstrate the opportunities presented by the NBN, and how households can take advantage of these opportunities by connecting with it.

 

Community organisations are eligible to provide the activities of a digital hub.

 

“The total amount of funding provided for the operations of a digital hub will generally be between $150,000 and $350,000 for a period of two years,” a government spokesperson says.

 

“The amount of a grant will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis and will be proportional to the size of the area and the activities within it proposed by the successful applicant.”

 

“An additional $10,000 over two years will be available for each digital hub, specifically for raising awareness in the local community and encouraging participation.”

 

Applicants can apply for Digital Hubs funding for the following activities:

  • ICT equipment costs – to purchase, maintain and update hardware and software that takes advantage of high-speed broadband.
  • Staff costs – to provide Digital Hubs staff to deliver digital literacy training to individuals and groups, including salary, superannuation and other staff costs.
  • Program management costs – including administration, annual program audit and reporting requirements.
  • NBN connection costs – to enable physical connection of Digital Hubs venues to the NBN.
  • Internet costs – to cover ongoing connections to high-speed broadband.
  • Promotional/communication activities – to promote the Digital Hub service to the local community.

It should be noted the Government will only fund one digital hub in each eligible location.

 

However, an eligible applicant can apply to provide digital hub services in more than one location “providing the applicant has a longstanding and permanent local presence in the relevant communities” and can meet all requirements and merit criteria for each location.

 

Applications must be lodged electronically to [email protected] by February 3, 2012.

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