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November 29, 2006

At last some forward thinking!

I've lamented the parlous state of wifi in Australia before - $10 an hour or much more in places like the Sydney International Airport, few hotspots of any description, whole airport terminals with no coverage, whole hotels with not even expensive ethernet web access. But news today that the NSW State Government is looking to provide free wifi in the Sydney CBD and other major areas by 2008. Excellent news indeed.

November 29, 2006 | Permalink

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It better have some fat whatever-it-is that allows lots of people on at the same time without degradation in performance/speed/connectivity when 100 or 100,000 users are accessing it!

A friend of mine who works in wireless technologies explained it to me some time ago - went way over my head ...

Posted by: Nathanael | Nov 29, 2006 6:21:14 PM

I wish they'd do something like this for Melbourne. I think something like this exists for Adelaide already - I know they've had wireless through Internode and other ISPs for a while, but it might now be free.

Posted by: Pat | Nov 29, 2006 7:35:02 PM

I was in Adelaide the other day and was surprised to find that there are free hot spots all over the place, Even in the Airport (okay its slow and well clagged). Seems Adelaide is lot more tech savvy than I expect.

Just wish we had some, any free (legal) hot spots in Perth.

Lets hope that the local ISPs in NSW don't get in a stink and start accusing the NSW Govt from stealing there revenue stream, as happens so often in the US.

Posted by: Tuna | Nov 29, 2006 8:30:33 PM

Sounds even better than the dsl net in Britain: only London and Glasgow are good in shape nad of course Ireland.

Posted by: milo | Nov 30, 2006 4:44:59 AM

Heh, I'll get excited when it actually happens and doesn't require you to pay for something to get the "free" wifi. Or install VPN software which doesn't work and requires an account you have to be a rate-payer to get in the first place (no good for people who rent..).

They did a free wifi trial in Brisbane a couple of years ago. It sank without trace, the rumble was that people dared use it so someone got a bill for the bandwidth and then it was all over. Either that or it might have had technical problems, again requiring money.

But in principle it's fantastic! Major cities *should* have wifi coverage. It helps keep the gears of industry ticking over - if people can't find your restaurants, bars, shops and attractions, then they don't spend money there. OTOH if they can whip out their Sony PSP and look up a map and directory on the spot, everyone's happy...

Posted by: Ben Buchanan | Nov 30, 2006 9:45:29 AM

Tuna,

I am sure there'll be whinging from all kinds of people who think this will eat their revenues.

In fact, I have a pretty detailed vusiness plan for a hotspot network in Australia that this pretty much scuppers - but I'm not complaining. All telecommunications, whether big telcos like it or not, become commodities over time - its like plumbing really.

I actually think this will have a very positive impact on Sydney and NSW as IT hubs, and the place for Aussie startups.

Ironically, in a week's time, I'm semi-moving downthe coast an hour or so - where they do have ADSL2+, thank goodness. The simple life for me - kinda :-)

john

Posted by: John Allsopp | Nov 30, 2006 10:03:24 AM

John, I'd definitely be interested in your business plan (if you're happy to share it) to see if it could apply to Melbourne.

Posted by: Pat Allan | Nov 30, 2006 5:36:50 PM

Pat,

I'm in Melbourne Sunday night - email me if you'd like to meet up

j

Posted by: John Allsopp | Dec 1, 2006 10:07:49 AM