Sunshine Coast locals and visitors may soon be able to enjoy access to free wireless internet (Wi-Fi) in certain public places across the region as part of a one year trial endorsed by Sunshine Coast Council yesterday.
The trial is subject to the procurement of a suitable private Wi-Fi provider. The locations for the trial sites will be determined through the procurement process.
Economic Development Portfolio Councillor Lew Brennan said that, in a digital economy, residents, businesses and tourists alike look for a variety of ways to access information, stay connected to people and promote what they are doing or have to offer.
“Free Wi-Fi in public places is one way that we can help our community and visitors to the region stay connected digitally to the world,” Cr Brennan said.
“Some of the most exciting destinations internationally have embraced free Wi-Fi in public places for this very reason and we plan to be one of those destinations.”
The trial will provide a working opportunity for council to assess the costs and benefits of the service to residents, business and visitors – with council’s intention that the cost of the trial is largely borne by the private provider.
While the successful private provider will nominate the trial sites as part of the procurement process, council will require that the trial be conducted in a mix of coastal and hinterland locations.
Cr Brennan said a number of local governments and other public bodies across Australia had implemented free Wi-Fi programs over the past two years in either trial format or as an ongoing part of their community services provided to residents.
“In this region, council already provides free Wi-Fi connectivity at nine library sites, and the Sunshine Coast Airport also offers the free service in the departure lounge to facilitate better business services for travellers,” Cr Brennan said.
“This free Wi-Fi trial in public places will not, however, be offered with other goods and services – so the trial will not compete with cafés, restaurants and other businesses that are offering free Wi-Fi as part of their marketing efforts to attract customers.”
Council plans to commence the sourcing of a provider to deliver the trial in the next four to six weeks.