Victorian Premier Denis Napthine has announced a pilot program providing free Wi-Fi internet access in Melbourne’s CBD.
The pilot program, run by the state government and Melbourne city council, is the first stage in a larger roll-out of public Wi-Fi across the state.
The state government has also opened the tender process for the scheme, with expressions of interest open from March 12 until April 17, with contracts to be awarded in mid-2014.
The program is designed to provide a consistent Wi-Fi experience around Melbourne’s CBD, boosting the quality of life for residents and visitors.
Napthine says he also hopes the scheme will boost productivity and draw help to draw more entrepreneurs to the state.
“As the first step, the initiative aims to pilot fast, reliable and free Wi-Fi services in central Melbourne, in and around publicly owned infrastructure, including public transport hubs and tourist attractions for the next three to five years.
“These networks will be delivered in partnership between the Government, the City of Melbourne and the private sector.
“We are encouraging innovative expressions of interest that will ensure a reliable, sustainable free service that is also filtered for prohibited and undesirable content.
“All responses will be assessed on their commercial viability with strong preference given to proposals where there is no ongoing cost to government, beyond any potential initial investment to establish the infrastructure.
“Government investment could include direct grants or in-kind contributions like advertising, sponsorship and priority access to public infrastructure and facilities.”