City of Sydney wants free public wi-fi

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City of Sydney wants free public wi-fi

Sydney council has put out a call for service providers to roll out free public wi-fi across the city.

Sydney is also looking for a new street furniture provider that can supply furniture that incorporates digital technology.

Lord mayor Clover Moore said it was a unique opportunity as the furniture contract would be up for grabs in 2019 for the first time in 20 years.

“Eventually we could see real-time emergency, event and transport information displayed on bus shelters," she said.

"We want to make sure no one is left behind in this shift to a digital future, so we’re looking for innovative local and international providers with new ideas to deliver fast and free public wi-fi."

Expressions of interest are open until 6 February, and will be awarded mid-next year, with the rollout expected to commence in 2019.

Sydney won't be the first Australian capital to receive free public wi-fi though. In 2014, iiNet deployed around 1000 Cisco 802.11ac access points in Melbourne, Ballarat and Bendigo in a $6.7 million deal. The network, now managed by TPG, went live in 2016, and offers users 250MB of data per day for free.

Sydney's Inner West Council handed a $364,000 contract to Infrastructure Logic last year to roll out 23 Ruckus 300 access points in the suburbs of Annandale, Leichhardt, Balmain and Rozelle.

Telstra claims to have rolled out more than one million wi-fi hotspots across the country as part of its Telstra Air network, though access is only available to existing Telstra customers.

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