For residents, commuters and visitors to Adelaide, Internode's success will greatly improve the speed and reach of free wireless coverage throughout the Central Business District (CBD) - with as much as 97 per cent coverage - giving faster Internet access than is currently available over mobile phone networks.
The contract was unveiled this morning at a Hindmarsh Square event where the new network was launched by South Australia’s Minister for Science and Information Economy Grace Portolesi, City of Adelaide Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood, Internode founder Simon Hackett, and mobile entrepreneur Brad Moran.
For the past 10 years, Internode's CityLan network has played a central role in making Adelaide a leading city for free wireless network coverage. The company will now complement CityLan with this significant new project, creating one of the largest CBD-wide outdoor WiFi wireless networks in the western world.
Internode founder Simon Hackett said free wireless network coverage was an essential piece of urban infrastructure for modern cities. "Adelaide's expanded wireless coverage will make life even easier for residents, commuters and visitors alike," he said.
"It will give them fast free Internet access throughout the CBD. Students can use this WiFi to study. Business people can use it for remote access to their office networks. Anyone can use it to stay in touch by email, checking the web for store specials or ordering online - all without affecting their monthly mobile phone data quota. So this is a win for both businesses and for individuals in the City of Adelaide."
Adelaide-based entrepreneur and former AFL footballer Brad Moran, founder of the NoQ mobile ordering and payment system, described the expanded free wireless coverage as great for business. "Research shows that 97 per cent of all mobile website checkouts are abandoned because of bad user experience," said Brad. "Offering fast, free Internet access is an important part of improving that experience."
The City of Adelaide WiFi contract expands a globally notable project. Internode launched CityLan in 2003, the year before the Silicon Valley city of San Jose launched a similar project. In March this year, San Jose upgraded its network with 30 external WiFi devices. This project will give Adelaide more than 200.
The City of Adelaide wireless network will see Internode deploy more than 200 Cisco outdoor wireless access points at locations throughout the CBD. With the AdelaideFree SSID, the expanded network will provide free wireless coverage for about 97 per cent of the northern CBD from Wakefield and Gouger streets to North Terrace. It will also provide extensive external coverage for the southern half of the CBD.
In a separate announcement, Internode has decided to enhance its Adelaide CityLan capacity to be compatible with the new City of Adelaide network. This involves installing 82 additional access points and upgrading all CityLan sites to 802.11n capability, boosting access speeds by as much as five times.
Internode provides the enormously popular CityLan network to end users free of charge. CityLan has more than six million separate sessions every month and about 150,000 unique accesses each week.
The new City of Adelaide network and the refreshed CityLan network will use fibre-optic cabling provided by Internode, Adelaide City and the SA Government to transmit data to the Internode core network.
Work has already started on the new network and will be largely completed by early next year, for Adelaide's 'mad March' season of festivals, including the Adelaide Fringe and WOMADelaide.