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Lord Mayor announces next step in smart city Wi-Fi plan

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Lord Mayor announces next step in smart city Wi-Fi plan
Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has today announced that Council’s free Wi-Fi internet will be expanded across the CBD and into the popular James Street precinct, as part of a $1 million expansion to Brisbane’s smart-city credentials.

Cr Quirk said that under a new $1.1 million contract awarded to Telstra this week, Council’s free Wi-Fi would have seamless integration from South Bank to the CBD, and in the Fortitude Valley Malls and James Street precinct.

“From early next year visitors will be able to stay connected as they move anywhere across the CBD - from Botanic Gardens to Roma Street Station, City Reach Boardwalk across to Queens Wharf - with the new James Street precinct Wi-Fi to be launched mid next year,” Cr Quirk said.

“We are creating more opportunities for residents and Brisbane businesses to take advantage of the digital economy and delivering free Wi-Fi across our central business and retail areas is part of this commitment.

“Free Wi-Fi is currently offered at more than 20 outdoor locations including Queen St Mall, Southbank Parklands, Brisbane Botanic Gardens, King George Square and New Farm Park, as well as all 33 of Council’s public libraries and across the entire CityCat fleet.

“Last financial year, nearly 400,000 individual users accessed Council’s Wi-Fi hotspots in the city malls and were connected for nearly 20 minutes, on average.

“In total, we saw one million sessions, with 37,505 of these in December in the Queen Street Mall, which just proves the popularity of this high-speed free service,” Cr Quirk said.

Brisbane’s Chief Digital Officer Cat Matson said access to free Wi-Fi would significantly improve the city’s connectivity and access to digital services.

“The internet is part of everyday life and access to free public Wi-Fi is now the new benchmark for modern cities, by enabling free connection to the internet we will encourage visitors to the city centre to linger a little longer.”

“This is another milestone achievement for the Digital Strategy, the strategy advocated for a cyber-city program now it’s delivering ready access and free Wi-Fi across the city.”

Cr Quirk said that once up-and-running, information about Wi-Fi usage in the new CBD hot-spot would be made available under Council’s Open Data initiative.

“This Open Data project will see digital information sets, including usage patterns and volumes, made accessible to the public, while preserving all privacy for users,” he said.

“Council’s Open Data initiative has yielded incredible results for Brisbane start-ups and we expect this to continue through this new type of data that will become available.”

Cr Quirk said since the launch of the Digital Brisbane strategy in 2013, 47,812 businesses had been reached online and nearly 9,000 businesses in person through a range of educational training sessions, information forums, speed networking functions and other sessions putting small businesses in touch with a digital coach.

“The Digital Brisbane Strategy is driving economic development across the city and maximising opportunities for businesses to tap into the global economy through digital technology,” he said.

For more information on Council’s free Wi-Fi locations, visit www.brisbane.qld.gov.au or call Council on (07) 3403 8888.
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