Bendigo Embraces Free WI-FI Service

Bendigo Embraces Free WI-FI Service

Victoria Minister for Small Business Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis

Thousands Connect To Bendigo’s Free WI-FI Service

Victor P Taffa

Over 8,400 locals and visitors to Bendigo have been connecting to the VicFree Wi-Fi service each month to take advantage of the Andrews Government’s Victorian Wi-Fi Project that has been up and running across a number of the city’s outdoor public spaces since December 2015.

“The significant increase in users over the first six months of the pilot demonstrates that there is a high demand for technology infrastructure in Bendigo, with locals and visitors alike choosing to stay digitally connected when they’re out and about.” Minister for Small Business Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis said.

Usage statistics from the first six months of the 5-year pilot show the network was used more than 371,600 times, around 62,000 sessions per month, with overall usage increasing by 77 % in the second quarter of the pilot.

“We are providing locals and visitors to Bendigo with access to a Wi-Fi service that allows them to do business, study and stay connected to family and friends throughout the city and clearly they’ve welcomed it with open arms.” Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan said.

On average users are connected to the network for 21 minutes at a time with Hargreaves Mall, Bendigo Station and the Bendigo Town Hall among the most popular locations across the city to use the service.

The service is managed and maintained by telecommunications company TPG and allows for up to 250 MB per device, per day and does not require personal logins or feature pop-up advertising.

“This service is boosting the liveability and prosperity of Bendigo while strengthening Victoria’s reputation as a digital leader not just in Metropolitan Melbourne but in our regional towns as well.” Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said.

Outdoor public spaces in Ballarat’s CBD have also benefited from the Victorian Wi-Fi Project, with Melbourne CBD locations expected to rollout through to the end of 2016.

Once completed the $11 Million pilot will be the largest free public Wi-Fi service of its kind in Australia with a combined coverage zone of more than 600,000 sqm across the three cities, while also being available for piloting innovative connected city projects and for disaster response in the event of an emergency.

The 5-year pilot will help to determine the feasibility of free public Wi-Fi services for the state as part of a broader strategy to strengthen Victoria’s position as a digital leader.