Ballarat Embraces Free WI-FI Service

Ballarat Embraces Free WI-FI Service

Victoria Minister for Small Business Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis

Thousands Connect To Ballarat’s Free WI-FI Service

Victor P Taffa

Over 7,500 locals and visitors to Ballarat 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 Ballarat, 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 265,000 times, around 44,200 sessions per month, with overall usage increasing by 62 % in the second quarter of the pilot.

On average users are connected to the network for 21 minutes at a time with the city’s Sturt Street, Lydiard Street, Ballarat Town Hall and the Bridge Mall the most popular locations for 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.

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

“This free Wi-Fi service is just another example that Ballarat is welcoming investment in technology with open arms.” Member for Buninyong Geoff Howard said.

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.

“We are providing locals and visitors to Ballarat with access to a Wi-Fi service that allows them to do business, study and stay connected to family and friends throughout the city while strengthening Victoria’s reputation as a digital leader.” Member for Wendouree Sharon Knight said.

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.