Melbourne CBD to offer free wi-fi

Posted on March 11, 2014 09:26 am

Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has revealed that central business district area in Melbourne will provide free wi-fi that would be available at steps of parliament House, Federation Square, Bourke Street Mall and forecourt of Flinders Street Station. Expression Of Interest documents that I have obtained counters that free wi-fi initiatives that leverage government infrastructure deliver a range of social and economic benefits in areas that include but not limited to tourism, transport, local government, health and education. Formal expression of interest documents also add public-owned infrastructure such as hospitals, public parks, tourist hotspots, universities and public transport hubs to the list of potential locations. According to Doyle, Victorian government free wi-fi hotspots trial could last up to five years, with an eye to expanding the service to outside CBD centres and tourist hotspots in coming years.

In collaboration with the City of Melbourne, the state government is offering startup grants, access to infrastructure, and in-kind contributions like advertising to suppliers who can offer a commercially viable way to fund the initiative on continuing basis. The options available include scaling up to premium broadband speeds and fee-based data allowances have been put forward as potential money making models. A friend who attended the announcement by Victoria Premier told me state government clearly stated that it has no intention to fund the initiative on an ongoing basis. The pilot is expected form an important part of making Melbourne more worldly and more attractive city for business, visitors and international tourists. Interested vendors will have a month from now to pitch their models, which will be weighted on innovation, speed of service, commercial viability and minimal upfront funding. The government hopes to have signed a deal mid-year, and the pilot up and running by the end of this year.

Contador Harrison