The Victorian government has funded a 5 year project worth $6.7 million dollars to deliver free public WiFi to Bendigo and Ballarat. Typically delivering more internet to more people, for free, is a wonderful thing. Problem is, one of the two city councils has no idea what speed they’re getting.
The announcement page for the pilot (pilot assumes a wider rollout if successful), provides pretty limited detail on the project, especially given its considerable government budget.
The page details that users will be able to access the free internet without time restrictions, but will be limited to 250MB per day. While that’s certainly not a massive data cap, its clearly designed to ensure users are using the service for emails, social media and browsing and not streaming Netflix all day.
Given we know the data cap, I thought the network speed (up and down) is an pretty important piece of information users need to understand to know what’s possible and what’s not on the WiFi. Can they make an audio call? Can they do a video skype call? Could they download a 100MB file from online storage in a few seconds or will it take minutes or hours?
You’d think the councils involved would know this information, given its happening in their city. It seems Bendigo is completely unaware of what speeds are possible.
Thankfully, the Victoria Government has also guaranteed users won’t have to provide personal email addresses, or have adverts pushed to them.
More information at http://www.vic.gov.au/wifi