Australia’s Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (DITRDC) has announced that it is now accepting applications for the Alternative Voice Services Trials (AVST) programme. In a press release regarding the development, the regulator noted that AVST is designed to provide grants to organisations to trial different ways to deliver voice services in rural and remote areas of Australia. It added that the objective of the trials is ‘to identify new ways to deliver voice services, including by new providers and technologies, and assess their effectiveness to provide improved services and functionality’.
Trials will reportedly be delivered within NBN Co’s fixed-wireless and satellite footprints, including those serviced by Telstra’s high-capacity radio concentrator (HCRC) network, and a total of AUD2 million (USD1.4 million) in funding is being made available for the trials, as part of the AUD220 million ‘Stronger Regional Digital Connectivity Package’. Applications are being accepted until the 14 September 2020 deadline.