Installing ultra-fast internet in Adelaide’s CBD will position it as a hub for new business and investment opportunities, the city’s Lord Mayor says.
Adelaide City Council has announced its plans to become one of the world’s first smart cities and is already rolling out initiatives including smart lighting trials in the city centre.
The new internet proposal would increase the city’s current top speed to 10Gb/s, which would make it about 100 times faster than is currently provided through Australia’s National Broadband Network.
The vision took a step closer to becoming reality this week (26 June) when the South Australian Government backed the plan by pledging $4.65 million to connect key work spaces with ultra-high speed connections.
The network will use the existing SABRENet optical fibre network to connect Adelaide CBD offices including the St Paul’s Creative Centre, the Majoran Co-working space and Hub Adelaide, as well as technology centres outside the city such as Tonsley and the BioScience Precinct.
Lord Mayor Martin Haese said building a stronger internet service would be a key step towards Adelaide realising this smart city ambition and attracting investment.
“Data is the currency of the 21st century. If we were to have a city, which had quantifiably faster data speed than the rest of the nation, without at this moment pre-empting what the technological solution would be, what would that do to attracting business to Adelaide,” he said.
“It would attract entrepreneurs and start-ups to Adelaide. It would attract large corporates to Adelaide.
“This relationship between data speed, the environment and automation to some degree, is converging. It enables better environmental outcomes and can enable better commercial outcomes at the same time. That’s why I think we are in a very good position – the conditions are right.”
In 2014, the Adelaide City Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding with tech giant Cisco and the Government of South Australia, which focused on encouraging and supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs to develop and commercialise smart city products and services.
Cisco later named Adelaide as one of seven smart and connected ‘Lighthouse Cities’ in the world and the first in the Southern Hemisphere.
Adelaide was also the first Australian capital city to provide free public Wi-Fi, which has a download speed of two megabits per second.
The movement to 10Gb/s speeds in Chattanooga in the United States helped the city transform its struggling economy, by luring high-tech start-ups to the city.
Haese said he hoped high-speed internet could drive a similar transformation in Adelaide, with particular reference to medical imaging, film production, and driverless car research.
“We know that our time zone can be at a competitive advantage for Europe and America because we can be working on things overnight, so to speak, and when they come in the following morning the work is done,” he said.
“Our compact size is a real strength. Our ability to collaborate with industry and if we are looking at the City of Adelaide or the CBD at least, as a hub of ultra-fast data, it could actually be quite doable.”
Haese said the aggregation of key industries in the city – including medical, research and education – would also greatly benefit from improved data infrastructure.
“We had a unanimous vote in the council chamber a month ago. The elected members have asked administration to work in collaboration with other members of the State Government and the industry to look at the benefits in terms of what that would mean in attracting creative industries, corporates, entrepreneurs, start-ups and technologists.
“Our Information and Communication Technologies division is working on a detailed report that will be coming out to the elected members in September.”
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