Super Cisco rollout in country's biggest free wi-fi deal

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Super Cisco rollout in country's biggest free wi-fi deal

Network contractor Visionstream is a key installation partner in a $4 million rollout of free wi-fi to Canberra announced this week.

The rollout will see 700 Cisco access points deployed by iiNet around Canberra, and is touted by the broadband provider as the largest free wi-fi network in Australia.

[Related: Tap into the well of wi-fi opportunities]

Visionstream and iiNet will both perform the physical installation of the Cisco equipment, said iiNet chief business officer Greg Bader.

He said the rollout will cost $4 million, which includes installation and equipment, Bader told CRN. Both iiNet and the state government will contribute to the cost.

The project will see 300 Cisco outdoor access points connected to iiNet's fibre and VDSL2 network in "high traffic" sites. Another 400 access points will also be added within businesses in the city, according to a press release.

The CBRfree network, as it will be called, will be rolled out over the next 12 months. A press statement lists areas of coverage as: Civic, commercial centres of Belconnen, Dickson, Woden, Tuggeranong, Bruce, Manuka-Kingston, Gungahlin, Weston Creek, tourist precincts of Parkes, the foreshore and Commonwealth Park areas.

As part of its contract with the ACT Government, iiNet will also trial mobile wi-fi on five of the city’s buses over 12 months to test the viability of the initiative.

iiNet will place traffic limits on the network to stamp out the "one or two percent of people using disproportionately large resources", Bader told iTnews. Limits will be determined by the usage of the network once it is rolled out, but Bader said iiNet would guarantee minimum speeds of 2 Mbps.

Bader told CRN the Canberra wi-fi network would be iiNet's largest so far. The broadband provider also setup the AdelaideFree Wi-Fi network in the last year.

The $1.5 million Adelaide network, deployed by iiNet subsidiary Internode, uses 200 Cisco outdoor wireless access points to connect users to fibre optic backhaul provided by Internode alongside Adelaide City council and the South Australian Government.

iiNet has also offered 15 free wi-fi hotspots across Perth's central business district since 2012.

The ACT Government first revealed plans to make free wi-fi available in public spaces and transport hubs across Canberra in November last year.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher promised a $2.9 million investment into wi-fi hot spots in the lead up to the 2012 ACT election.

The territory at the time signalled a willingness to provide an initial grant to set up the network, but said it wanted a partner to own and operate the infrastructure over five years, with revenue to come from such streams as advertising and paid premium options.

 

The news follows Telstra's announcement last week that it plans to build a national wi-fi network.

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