Australia’s largest free public wifi comes to Melbourne
Residents of and visitors to Melbourne, Australia, can now enjoy free internet access throughout the city’s central business district, thanks to a nearly $8.5 million project that gives the city the largest free public wifi project in the country, according to a report from ZDNet.
The project kicked off in 2014 when communications provider iiNet (later acquired by TPG) brokered a deal with the Coalition government to install 1,000 access points across Melbourne, Bendigo and Ballarat, the report stated. The pilot project, a more limited deployment covering just Ballarat and Bendigo, was used for more than 1 million sessions within its first nine months.
The first parts of the project in production are wireless access points at the train stations within the central business district as well as at the Bourke Street Mall, Queen Victoria Market and South Wharf Promenade. These are all live, including access points at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Center.
Once the Melbourne public wifi project is complete, it will cover 600,000 square meters, which is essentially the size of the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California. The wifi network is initially slated to run for five years, and citizens and visitors will be able to download up to 250MB of data each day without being prompted to log in or be shown advertising.
The Australian cities of Perth and Canberra are also working to develop public wifi solutions. Perth is looking to add free public wifi to buses, trains and ferries, while Canberra signed a deal with TPG to roll out 700 access points in support of a public wifi project.
The city plans to make the wireless network available for emergency use by public services and first responders in the event of incidents or disasters, and it hopes to develop smart-city solutions using the fast access the wifi coverage provides.