The Victorian Government will provide up to $6 million to projects that develop innovative broadband solutions, with applications now being sought from Victorian-based businesses.
Gordon Rich-Phillips, Minister for Technology, said expressions of interest were being sought for round two of the Broadband-Enabled Innovation Program.
“Up to $6 million of funding is available for projects which use high capacity broadband to improve service delivery in business, government and the community,” Rich-Phillips said in a statement.
The funding is available to Victorian-based business groups, industry bodies, community organisations, local governments and state government departments.
The funding specifications require projects to be collaborations between organisations, to promote better business links and encourage innovation across industry sectors.
Round two of the program will focus on productivity through service delivery transformation, using high-capacity broadband.
The program is based around a project development cycle. Selection is a two-stage process designed to support development of an initial project concept into a business plan, which can be funded for immediate implementation.
Applications at each stage are assessed against program selection criteria by a departmental selection panel made up of Victorian Government senior officers and approved by the minister.
Successful stage two applicants enter into a grants contract to receive program funding, and will be responsible for complying with contract conditions such as meeting project milestones and reporting requirements.
In addition, successful applicants will be responsible for demonstrating productivity gains, and communicating project lessons and outcomes so others can learn from the projects that are funded.
Rich-Phillips is encouraging applications from Victorian organisations that plan to enhance their operations, or the service they provide, through broadband.
“Effective and innovative use of broadband is key to building and maintaining Victoria’s competitive advantage, and sustaining the state’s reputation as a globally competitive and sophisticated ICT market,” he says.
Last month, Rich-Phillips launched a new laboratory to act as a test-bed for businesses to explore and develop new and innovative applications, making use of high-speed broadband.
Located at the Institute for a Broadband Enabled Society, at the University of Melbourne, Rich-Phillips said the Australian Broadband Applications Laboratory will foster innovation.
The laboratory includes a state-of-the-art broadband network, which supports the development and testing of new ideas in a real-life environment.
By replicating the NBN setup, businesses will be able to test new service offerings over the NBN.
The lab will also provide a one-stop-shop to assess end-user reactions to new services and applications, and will allow IBES to further collaborate with businesses.