Public wi-fi in Australian cities: are there lessons for 'smart city' government?

McShane, I and Wilson, C 2018, 'Public wi-fi in Australian cities: are there lessons for 'smart city' government?', in State of Australian Cities National Conference 2017, Adelaide, 28 - 30 November 2017, pp. 1-9.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

Title Public wi-fi in Australian cities: are there lessons for 'smart city' government?
Author(s) McShane, I
Wilson, C
Year 2018
Conference name State of Australian Cities National Conference 2017
Conference location Adelaide
Conference dates 28 - 30 November 2017
Proceedings title State of Australian Cities National Conference 2017
Publisher APO (Analysis & Policy Obervatory)
Place of publication Melbourne, Australia
Start page 1
End page 9
Total pages 9
Abstract Wireless communication is now integral to the social, economic and cultural life of cities and will become increasingly so as Internet of Things (IOT) technologies alter existing urban processes and generate entirely new ones. Although wireless connectivity engages almost all aspects of urban governance, management of the underpinning infrastructure is essentially a new field of activity for city governments. Telecommunications and spectrum management has always been a national policy domain and telecommunication infrastructure and services have been provided by the private sector over the past 25 years. The rapid rollout of public wi-fi is the first substantive engagement of Australian city governments in wireless infrastructure policy and practice. Over the past five years, investment by state and municipal governments has yielded operational networks in capital city CBDs, many suburban centres and regional cities, and even some smaller towns. While investment rationales have focused on benefits that might accrue from providing communication services to citizens and tourists, city governments are beginning to appreciate the value that data derived from network users could have in the actual enterprise of governing. However, realising the potential of public wi-fi to inform smarter city government is not proving straightforward. Drawing on field research, and legal and policy analysis, this paper discusses two barriers to public wifi informed smarter city ambitions: local authority procurement decisions and local human resource limitations. We argue that the combination of these factors has contributed to the privatisation of public wi-fi data and diminished the public value of local network investment.
Subjects Urban Policy
Communication Technology and Digital Media Studies
Keyword(s) public Wi-Fi
local government
digital infrastructure
smart cities
Australia
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Created: Thu, 06 Dec 2018, 10:39:00 EST by Catalyst Administrator
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