In truly awesome technology news, the City of Perth has finally rolled out its free public Wi-Fi network. The network can be accessed all around the CBD, offering visitors, locals and passers-by the chance to access the service free of charge.
The ‘forward-thinking’ move sees Perth join Canberra and Adelaide on the list of ‘free wi-fi’ cities. Though there are obvious benefits in terms of social mobility, the move is also likely to enhance and encourage business and innovation within the city limits.
‘Phase One’ of the project saw the network rolled out across the inner CBD area, but ‘Phase Two’ (which has just been completed) has extended the network to the north, into other commonly accessed public areas. The ambitious project was given to Wireless and Technical Services Group, who have now successfully built a network covering fifty hectares. The public uptake of the service has also been dramatic: the group estimates that there have been 200,000 network connections so far, with about 25,000 devices connected to the network at one time.
Ingenuously, the plan required thousands of outdoor access points to be placed around the city. Public poles and other buildings were used to mount one of the single largest investments in Perth’s infrastructure. But, in spite of the significant expense and effort, the plan remains overwhelmingly popular.
City of Perth Lord Mayor, Lisa Scaffidi, said the new service will support the tourism industry and boost the revenues in the downtown area. “Following the success and popularity of last year’s Wi-Fi deployment across Perth’s CBD, we wanted to extend the network to other parts of the city,” she told CNET. “What makes our network special is its blanket coverage – users can now walk from the Bell Tower to Northbridge Piazza without being disconnected.”
The project was launched as part of TEDx Perth, which saw revered speakers gather to discuss innovation across a broad range of fields. And this year, the City of Perth deserved applause for its truly creative way of approaching technological revitalisation and economic rejuvenation.
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