Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, Mark Coulton is calling on rural and remote residents to participate in a new voice services trial program.
"These trials are about identifying new options to deliver voice calls in remote areas, so it's important that the new technology is tested across a range of localities," Minister Coulton said.
"Ensuring that rural Australians have access to robust and resilient phone services is a priority for the Federal Government, which is why we are funding these trials to test what will and won't work for remote communities."
The program will involve grants to NBN Co, Conerotel and Zetifi, who will each receive grants as part of the $2 million Alternative Voice Services Trials Program.
NBN Co will offer 260 trial voice services across the nation, involving it's fixed wireless and satellite networks as well as exploring the usage of low band fixed wireless solutions.
Concerotel will deliver services to the Cocos Islands and Norfolk Island, aimed at trailing better VOIP services to mobile phones that are dependent on satellite services.
A further 50 trial voice services will be provided by Zetifi, who will be targeting improved wi-fi calling for farms in rural and remote areas of New South Wales and parts of Victoria where poor mobile coverage is currently the norm.
While the trials aim to improve services and their availability, currently existing fixed voice services won't be replaced until 'robust, proven' alternatives have been developed and tested.
Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cites and the Arts Paul Fletcher said the overall goal was to determine the best path forward for voice services.
"The trials are a great opportunity for new players to demonstrate new ways to provide better voice services, more in line with changing consumer needs particularly for greater mobility," Mr Fletcher said.
"I'm particularly pleased to see two small, innovative companies, Concerotel and Zetifi, in this first tranche of grants."
Those interested in participating in the trial program can express their interest online.