Telstra, Optus and Vodafone to receive tens of millions for data retention

Government reveals long-awaited details of who will get what under the Data Retention Implementation Grants scheme

Telstra, Vodafone Hutchison Australia and Optus will receive tens of millions of dollars in grants to help defray the cost of implementing the government’s data retention regime.

Attorney-General General George Brandis today announced details of the grants that will be allocated under the scheme.

Telstra will receive $39,915,538 to help with its data retention capital costs, while Vodafone and Optus will receive $28,848,519 and $14,763,859, respectively.

Australia’s big three are followed by Vocus ($3,444,036, including $1,618,436 for M2), MyNetFone ($3,004,000), TPG ($2,225,541, including $814,581 for iiNet), Broadband Solutions ($2,201,006), Exetel ($1,803,778), and Message4U Pty Ltd ($1,264,800). The top 10 is rounded out by the government-owned NBN, which will receive $1,067,515.

The smallest grant is $10,000.

In total, 180 organisations will receive funding under the Data Retention Implementation Grants scheme. The government said that most providers will receive 80 per cent of their capital costs to comply with the scheme, with SMBs receiving a minimum of 80 per cent. Successful applicants will receive half of their funding after signing an initial agreement, with the remaining paid by the government upon the completion of reporting requirements.

The government’s 2015-16 budget earmarked $131.3 million over three years to help defray the cost of complying with the scheme (a figure that falls short of the estimated costs to industry). Of that total funding pool, $128.4 million was for grants with the remainder for administration and standards development. Figures published today by the government reveal it will disburse a total of $128,351,400 under the scheme.

The grants program was launched at the start of 2016. The lengthy wait for telcos to find out the funds they will receive has been a source of ongoing criticism of the government.

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