Someone else's wi-fi

If you want free wi-fi, head to Australia’s red centre – courtesy of ‘someone else’

Someone else's wi-fi
Someone else’s wi-fi

April 2, 2013

For any owner of a smart phone or tablet might attest, it’s a whole lot cheaper – and often more convenient – to tap into someone else’s free wi-fi service when out on the road.

The Northern Territory Government has taken this ‘someone else’ approach and come to the aid of the smart phone set with more wi-fi accessibility in and around the top end’s public transport.

Free wi-fi has just been activated on a further five public buses in Darwin, doubling the number of buses fitted with the service.

Chief Minister Adam Giles says wi-fi allows commuters to use their valuable time in a more productive way when travelling on buses.

"Wi-fi enables bus users to catch up on daily news, check their emails and look at their favourite social media sites," Giles says.

"Smart phones, iPads and Android tablets are part of daily life for Territorians, and wi-fi on buses shows the Northern Territory Government’s commitment to developing Darwin as a technologically smart city.

"The wi-fi-enabled buses will help build a public bus network compatible with the demand for quick access to information."

But the extent of how much ‘free’ wi-fi you can access has a limit, restricted to daily consumption of 90 minutes, or 100 megabytes, whichever is consumed first.

Wi-fi was installed at the Darwin, Casuarina and Palmerston interchanges and on five Darwin buses in February and activated on all Alice Springs buses in March.

The installation cost and the first 12 months of internet access, support and maintenance is $50,000. The subsequent annual cost of internet access, support and maintenance for each bus is $2,500.

At Alice Springs, further improvements to the town’s bus network include fifteen new bus shelters currently being installed.

"In addition, $290,000 has been provided for bus cut-ins and pavement work and $300,000 to install bus stop totems with timetables and wheelchair compliant slabs and seats at identified stops," says Giles said.

NT Minister for Central Australia Matt Conlan says the Alice’s public transport upgrades are just the beginning of a larger plan that will see more of Alice Springs connected to wi-fi in the coming months, which will have significant tourism benefits for the Centre.

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