Free Wi-Fi coming to Melbourne, Ballarat and Bendigo

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Free Wi-Fi coming to Melbourne, Ballarat and Bendigo

The first three sites in what is said to be Australia's largest free public Wi-Fi network went live this week in Victoria.

The Victorian Government's VicGovFree network will involve more than 1,000 Wi-Fi access points in the Melbourne, Ballarat and Bendigo central business districts.

This is even more than the free Wi-Fi network being deployed by iiNet and the ACT Government, which will have a planned 700 access points.

Like the ACT network, VicGovFree is being built by iiNet. According to iiNet chief business officer Greg Bader, it will be one of the largest Wi-Fi deployments in the world.

The state government is spending $6.7 million over five years on the pilot service.

Parts of Melbourne to covered by VicGovFree by the end of 2015 will include the train stations on the City Loop, City Circle trams, Queen Victoria Market, Bourke Street Mall, City Square, Federation Square, Flagstaff Gardens, Carlton Gardens, Treasury Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens and the Docklands precinct, state premier Denis Napthine announced this week.

Maps of the proposed coverage areas have been published for Melbourne, Ballarat and Bendigo.

The first three sites to go live are the Queen Victoria Market (Queen Street/Victoria Street entrance), Melbourne; Sturt Street at Queen Victoria Square, Ballarat; and the Bendigo Art Gallery.

The service allows users to download up to 250MB per day.

Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips said "Importantly, it will provide Victorians who don't have internet access at home or mobile internet with a means of getting online to access information about government services, employment and public transportation."

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