OzTech: Connectivity projects funded; How research partnerships help smaller businesses; 3 data centres certified for sensitive data; Secret data centre owner revealed?

OzTech Roundup is Computerworld Australia’s weekly look at the world of IT.

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$27 million in extra funding for Regional Connectivity Program

The Regional Connectivity Program (RCP) has announced 51 additional projects totalling $27 million, with funding focusing on new and improved mobile voice and data coverage, fixed wireless and fibre broadband services, and improved microwave and fibre backhaul capacity to locations across regional, rural, and remote Australia.

The 51 projects are spread across the country, with 22 in Western Australia, 16 in Victoria, four in New South Wales, four in Queensland, two in South Australia, two in the Northern Territory, and one in Tasmania.

Telstra got the majority of the projects, 42 in total. Field Solutions Group is in charge of four, Ace Internet Service one, NBN Co. one, and TasmaNet one. The Centre Desert Council was handed one project which will be delivered through Telstra, and the Adelaide Plains Council was handed one project which will be delivered through NBN Co.

This is part of Round 1 of the RCP which is funding 132 projects. On 16 April, $90.3 million was announced to support more than 80 projects as part of a more than $180 million of co-investment from funding recipients, from state, territory, and local governments, from regional businesses, and from community development organisations.

Organisations that collaborate with researchers are more likely to introduce new products

A study of Australian small and medium businesses found companies collaborating with researchers were more than twice as likely to introduce new products and services, at 66%.

The report by CSIRO, RMIT University, and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has identified that only 5% of small and medium businesses collaborate primarily with universities or research institutes, even though they account for 99.8% of all Australian businesses and employ 68% of Australia’s population.

Of the 800 businesses surveyed, mutual trust was reported as the biggest barrier to collaboration (57%), followed by mutual commitment (56%), and concerns about the willingness of researchers to collaborate (54%).

RMIT, QUT, and CSIRO researchers are now looking to develop a ‘collaboration readiness scale’ that could help clarify where potential industry partners are and the likely support required to collaborate with researchers.

Three data centre providers certified to store sensitive government data

15 months after shutting down the cloud services certification program (CSCP), the Digital Transformation Agency has announced three providers have been certified to store sensitive government data in Australia.

Under the Hosting Certification Framework, announced in March 2019, Australian Data Centres (ADC), Canberra Data Centres (CDC), and Macquarie Telecom (Canberra Campus) have been certified strategic against the requirements defined in the framework, a DTA spokesperson told Computerworld Australia.

It is unclear how long it takes for the process of evaluation to be completed after a provider makes the application. This process is not very different from the one previously performed by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), which could vary from months to years.

The DTA said it is working with other providers that have requested certification and will make further announcements in due course.

Upcoming New South Wales data centre has secret owner

The New South Wales government announced it authorised the build of a data centre worth $264 million in Macquarie Park, Sydney, which is expected to create 400 construction jobs and as many as 50 operational jobs.

Property group Stockland has obtained the approval for construction and operation of the facility, it said in a statement, at M_Park, a $500 million development announced in December 2019.

The Australian Financial Review reported “it’s understood the five-storey data centre will be a hyperscale facility leased to a major cloud computing provider, believed to be Amazon Web Services”. Both state government and Stockland are tight-lipped about what company is behind the data centre.

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