Alternative Australian broadband provider iiNet is said to be examining plans to deploy as many as 30,000 Wi-Fi hotpots in the nation’s capital cities, The Australian reports, although the proposals are said to be in the preliminary stages. With iiNet already operating Wi-Fi infrastructure in Perth – where the company is based – and Adelaide, it is understood that the telco is looking to extend coverage to Sydney and Melbourne later this year, following which it aims to reach the remaining capital cities. While the plans will likely require substantial investment from iiNet, with estimates that the project could cost ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’, iiNet chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby refused to discuss costs, though he did say of the telco’s plans: ‘We want to get the Wi-Fi network going in other capital cities … We are looking at Sydney and Melbourne’ adding: ‘The competitive advantage for us is that it will provide an extra layer of service for our customers.’
Mr Dalby also noted that iiNet is keen to finalise its Adelaide and Perth rollouts before accelerating construction in other areas. The rollout of its Wi-Fi infrastructure in Adelaide got underway in August 2013, when iiNet subsidiary Internode won a tender from the South Australian government and City of Adelaide to build the new AUD1.5 million (USD1.34 million) outdoor Wi-Fi network. The infrastructure, which runs on more than 200 Cisco outdoor wireless access points and fibre-optic backhaul provided by Internode, Adelaide City and the state government, will be known as ‘AdelaideFree’. With the network expected to be complete in ‘the next few months’, it will cover approximately 97% of the northern Adelaide CBD.