In Brief: Cityrail to offer free-WiFi

Pending trial at Circular Quay Station

NSW commuters may have free Internet access under a plan by the state government to roll out Wi-Fi networks through the state's train network.

Trains and platforms would have wireless access points installed for use by commuters, police and security staff under the plans.

The first trial site has been opened at Sydney's busy Circular Quay station in the CBD.

A RailCorp spokeswoman confirmed the Internet access points will be deployed within trains and more widley across the network, pending the success of the trial site.

Internet access is also available on state- and private-run ferries from Sydney to Manly.

The Queensland Government recently stepped-up trials of free wireless access on its trains, following an initial pilot on the Gold Coast CityTrain rail network last year.

That network provides online access to commuters who already hold Internet access accounts with ISPs, and will allow police and transit officers to access real-time CCTV security footage.

Two bids to deploy free Sydney CBD-wide Internet access by preceeding NSW chief information officer departments were scrapped. Those networks would have provided access intended for basic browsing and e-mail access, enforced by speed and download caps.

The plans drew the ire of Internet hotspot providers who said it was a threat to revenue and would fail due to the cost of deploying suffcient access points.

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