Ipswich on cusp of a new era in public wi-fi
THE way free public wi-fi is delivered to Ipswich in future is set to move with the times as the pace of technological change increases at a rapid rate.
Acting Mayor Paul Tully, also the council's Digital City spokesman, explained how the provision of wi-fi would probably be done.
"In New Zealand, they have been experimenting with wi-fi being delivered from large balloons which transmit the data down into cities from the one location,” Cr Tully said.
"That has had mixed success, but I think wi-fi is more likely to be delivered from high points around cities rather than limited to individual parks and places like that. So you might have three or four key places around Ipswich where wi-fi could be distributed to everyone from high towers, but that would be at a cost.”
Unlike the Luddite writing this story, Cr Tully is a politician who has embraced technology.
He was one of the first people in Ipswich to own a digital camera in the 1990s. As a result, he was one of the first politicians in Queensland to transmit photos back to the QT from local government conferences and from the scene of breaking stories.
Cr Tully said free public Wi-Fi was available at Orion Lagoon, Ipswich Mall, Ipswich Art Gallery, Ipswich Civic Centre and around council's administration precincts. Cr Tully said expanding the public wi-fi network, so all residents could enjoy the benefits of technology, was high on the council's agenda.
"We have nominated the two extensions at Robelle Domain, adjacent to Orion Lagoon, and also at the Ipswich Motorsport Park at Willowbank,” he said.
"We are going to continue to identify other places around the city where we can have wi-fi provided. Initially we will look around major congregation areas which could be around major parks or places like North Ipswich Reserve.
"A lot of shopping centres do their own free wi-fi so we are not looking at putting them in shopping centres. It is a matter of examining it around the city and getting proposals as to how we can extend it.”
Cr Tully said it was not financially viable to put wi-fi in every park in the city and added that value for money was the key.
"The cost of introducing it to every park would be like putting an extra (Safe City) camera in every park of Ipswich,” he said.
"It is a cost to the community and ratepayers are the ones who pay for it, so we need to make sure it is done efficiently for the benefit of the wider community.”