Free Wi-Fi for Melbourne

Government to award contracts in mid-2014

Melbournians will soon be able to get on the Internet for free in the CBD.

The Victorian government and City of Melbourne have announced a pilot project that will deliver free Wi-Fi in central Melbourne. If successful, the program could be expanded to other areas of Victoria.

The project will be delivered under a partnership including the Victorian government, Melbourne City government and the private sector. The state government today opened submissions for expressions of interest.

“As the first step, the initiative aims to pilot fast, reliable and free Wi-Fi services in central Melbourne, in and around publicly owned infrastructure, including public transport hubs and tourist attractions for the next three to five years,” said Victoria Premier Denis Napthine.

“Providing free public Wi-Fi in the city is part of the State Government’s agenda to build a better Victoria,” he said.

Napthine said the government seeks proposals that “will ensure a reliable, sustainable free service that is also filtered for prohibited and undesirable content”.

“All responses will be assessed on their commercial viability with strong preference given to proposals where there is no ongoing cost to government, beyond any potential initial investment to establish the infrastructure,” he said.

Napthine added the government could provide “direct grants or in-kind contributions like advertising, sponsorship and priority access to public infrastructure and facilities”.

The Victorian government hopes to use the Melbourne experience as a model for bringing free Wi-Fi to other areas of the state, said Victorian minister for technology, Gordon Rich-Phillips.

“The Public Wi-Fi initiative will support small businesses, improve the tourism experience, assist our education sector, and further strengthen Victoria as Australia’s leading technology state,” he said.

The submission period for expressions of interest will close on 17 April. The government said it plans to award contracts in mid-2014.

The announcement comes on the heels of news that NBN Co had begun trials of fibre-to-the-basement broadband in eight high-rise buildings in Melbourne.

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of a dystopian novel about surveillance. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

Tags WiFiMelbournewireless broadbandNetworkingVictoriamuni-wifimunicipal network

7 Comments

Ronny

1

Yep it's free Wi-Fi all right. The State Government wants this provided to them for free. Free for the public, free for the council, and free for the government. The provider pays through ads or sponsorship. Woot!

Steven

2

I hope this is not Free in the form of ....

You connect free for the first 15 minutes after accepting to watch pushed video adds down your throat.
Then if you want another 15 minutes you have to watch more adds.

Anthony

3

Austraia is backward compared to Northern Europe with free wi-fi in cafes and restaurants. Recently on holidays over there, wi-fi never went below 18mbps compared with yesterdays ADSL2 here in Canberra with manual dial-up type performance.

Matt

4

The notion that this will attract more visitors is nonsense created by politicians and the public servants that pander to their whims. Australia will once again pull down its pants and be seen as technologically backward. Anyone who has travelled outside Australia knows that in other countries FREE (no payment no ads) exists pervasively in many countries.
The hotels have got the message - once you had to pay for internet now its free in most cases.

Michael

5

Crikey what a bunch of sour individuals commenting negatively about this. Good on the Government for doing this. Australia is behind Europe and the US in regards to public wifi so anything will be better than the current situation. And it has to start somewhere so kudos to them. Shame on all the cafes, restaurants, hotels, venues etc that DON"T already provide free wifi - get with the times people.

Rob Harmer

6

Sorry to spoil your 'breaking news"

For the past 10 years, Internode's CityLan network has played a central role in making Adelaide a leading city for free wireless network coverage. The company will now complement CityLan with this significant new project, creating one of the largest CBD-wide outdoor WiFi wireless networks in the western world. http://www.internode.on.net/news/2013/08/318.php

The same Adelaide company offered free WiFi to the MCG in 2009. http://www.internode.on.net/news/2009/03/130.php

So Melbourne is ahead of the game?

We figure they are 10 years behind. :)

jackazz

7

came back from europe and greece..every cafe has free wifi with a pass or without so why cant aus..our speeds are great inner cbd but suburbs are crap, hotels, cafes.CBD should all be free wifi..and great for snoops to hack into peoples networks like facebook haha

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