The Victorian Government has been running a trial of free WiFi for some time now and today, Premier Daniel Andrews has announced it will be sticking around. Providing free WiFi helps people in urban areas connect to the internet, particularly useful if cellular coverage is unavailable or underperforming.
This free internet service can greatly benefit tourists that may not need to buy a SIM after stepping off the plane. For those less fortunate that have found their way to a phone, but can’t afford a monthly phone bill, this makes the internet available to them free of charge, which could enable them to find work and build a path out of poverty.
For those staying in a coverage area on business trips or family holidays, this free WiFi may also enable you to avoid the expensive hotel WiFi charges.
Ultimately having free WiFi offers an array of benefits that far outweigh the cost of providing the service, which is powered by TPG Telecom.
There is a combined coverage zone of over 600,000 square metres across Melbourne, Ballarat and Bendigo CBDs.
While most free WiFi options are extremely limited in their data caps per session or per day, the State Government provided WiFi is really generous at 1GB per day.
Premier Andrews shared that this decision comes on the back of some serious data being consumed by users of the free WiFi service, indicating its need is certainly strong.
Since the Free WiFi service started in the city, a massive 430 terabytes of data has been downloaded. Victorians and tourists have logged on 45 million times.
If you are looking to use the free public WiFi network, you’ll find it by looking for the hotspot ‘VicFreeWiFi’ on your connected device, available in the following locations:
- Central Melbourne: CBD train stations, Bourke St Mall, Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne Museum, South Wharf Promenade at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
- Central Ballarat: Sturt Street at Queen Victoria Square, opposite Ballarat Town Hall, and around Lake Wendouree
- Central Bendigo: View Street Arts Precinct (Bendigo Art Gallery)
The service requires no login or passwords, and is ad-free.
Staying safe on public wi-fi
Using public WiFi does come with some level of risk, so it’s important to follow the guidelines below to ensure your data does not find its way into the hands of other users on the network.
- avoid sensitive transactions like banking
- maintain anti-virus protection
- install a trusted VPN app
- keep software updated
- have strong passwords
More information on Victoria’s free WiFi at https://www.vic.gov.au/find-vicfreewifi-hotspots-victoria