New South Wales scraps WiFi project

07 May 2008

The government has scrapped a project that would have provided free WiFi access in Sydney's business district, citing unnecessary funding.

The announcement was made by Minister of Commerce Eric Roozendaal, according to a report from the Sydney Morning Herald.

Roozendaal said the government had evaluated proposals from 15 broadband service providers but concluded the project was not practical based on technical and financial grounds.

'The overseas experience is that large-scale WiFi projects have proved ineffective in meeting the needs of local businesses and the community,' Roozendaal was quoted saying.

'Most schemes sponsored by overseas governments have collapsed and require further funding to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. With technology changing so quickly, I cannot expose NSW taxpayers to that sort of risk,' he added.

Aside from Sydney's business district, the project would have covered North Sydney, Paramatta, Penrith, Liverpool, Newcastle, Wollongong and Gosford.

Roozendaal said most cities in New South Wales (NSW) already have free wireless Internet points in libraries and in some commercial venues like hotels and cafes.

The said project was announced by the government in November 2006, then claiming it would boost the NSW economy by making it more attractive to businesses.

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