Meeting Population targets through WiFi
More news from The Age today.
Adelaide poised to lead WiFi pack
Adelaide is hoping to stand up and be counted in the high-tech stakes as it hatches a plan to roll out Australia's largest metropolitan network of free wireless internet hotspots.
It echoes similar initiatives being launched in cities such as San Francisco and Paris intended to bring users of WiFi-enabled devices, such as laptops, free broadband access in airports and cafes.
The joint initiative between the Adelaide City Council and Internode, an Adelaide-based ISP, is aimed to increase free wireless hotspot coverage to 140 city locations by June next year.
Users of the hotspots will be granted free access to browse the internet and check web-based email systems, but the service does not extend to the use of web applications for downloading multimedia clips or accessing instant messaging applications.
Internode's own broadband customers have access to additional services at the hotspots through their usual internet accounts as well as using internet telephony and videoconferencing applications, and the company said it planned to extend these as a chargeable service to non customers.
Both the council and Internode believe this newest phase of hotspot development will push Adelaide ahead of other Australian capitals, where customers must generally pay to access WiFi hotspots in locations such as McDonald's restaurants.
The only other city known to have considered free internet access is Brisbane, which has run a trial of the technology.
The Adelaide City Council had helped to fund the initiative and was instrumental in attracting local business such as the Cibo Espresso chain into the scheme, said Internode
Lord Mayor Michael Harbison said the provision of free internet hotspots would help to position Adelaide as an innovative city and contribute to its strategic plan to increase the population.
"The free access is particularly popular with our residents and the increasing student population in the city, and we are starting to see increased interest from workers and visitors," he said.
John Caruso, managing director of Commuserv, which provides technology services for Cibo, said: "Since Internode Wireless was installed, Cibo staff report new faces coming in to have coffee and use the wireless. They also behave differently. They used to have coffee and rush off. Now they have a coffee, have something to eat and do some work.
Internode's wireless product manager, Jim Kellett, said the next challenge was to source new locations for its free access points in Adelaide.
Once it has reached its goal of 140 hotspots there, the company will turn its attention to Brisbane, where it plans to introduce a similar scheme, he said.
JiWire, a company that monitors the number of verified hotspots worldwide, estimates there are 2612 WiFi hotspots in Australia (including both free and charged services) which is over double the number it recorded in January this year.
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