The Queensland Government will begin trialling wireless Internet access on its rail networks and station platforms as early as October.
The network will link some 6000 security CCTV cameras to allow police and transit officers to more quickly respond to incidents, and will provide Internet access to commuters who have existing accounts with Internet Service Providers.
Queensland transport minister, Rachel Nolan, said it received 29 “highly detailed and technically complex” proposals to the project tender.
"The priority for us is to have the network set up, and streaming CCTV implemented,” Nolan said in a statement.
"This has been a very technical process that has taken some time to ensure we select the most capable providers.
"We are looking forward to having this system trialled and implemented, but we are going to make sure we get it right."
Dimension Data, Wellard Technologies and Fujitstu were shortlisted for the up to $4 million project, announced in April last year. A preferred supplier will be selected in August to conduct the trials.
The project follows a successful pilot on the Gold Coast train network which connected security cameras in real-time to a central monitoring system. Brisbane City Council has also introduced free Wi-Fi services on its CityCat ferries
Managing director for analyst firm Telsyte, Warren Chaisatien, said the network could be extended to other public transport systems to help coordinate timetables, route mapping and to improve the management of additional security processes.
While commuters will be able to use their existing wireless Internet accounts over the train network, he played down suggestions the network could be vulnerable to hacking because it can employ an array of mature security technologies and protocols including WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol).
The Queensland wholesale wireless network trial follows similar wireless plans in other states across Australia. Earlier this year, The Greens announced plans to invest $255,000 to install Wi-Fi on 51 Launceston buses, while the South Australian Government is trialling Wi-Fi networks for its public bus networks to help drivers navigate traffic and provide real-time updates of bus locations to commuters.
Similar networks are already in many capital cities across North America, South Korea, the UK, Japan, Germany and Spain.