Public Wi-Fi boosts remote Qld tourism
A plan to switch on free public Wi-Fi across one-fifth of Queensland has been supported by the government.
The Outback Telegraph smart tourism platform is designed to provide better digital connectivity and promote more tourism in regional and remote Australia.
It was proposed by seven Central West councils on the Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD).
The first stage of the plan was switched on by Winton Shire Council in June — with the smart tourism pilot a first for Queensland.
“Providing more opportunities to go online and do research on the go and share pictures and stories will be good for tourists and trade in small rural towns,” said Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch.
“I congratulate Winton Shire Council for taking the groundbreaking steps to provide free public Wi-Fi in the outback, and government officers in Rockhampton and Brisbane who worked with councils to make it happen.”
When the network is up and running, it will be the biggest single public Wi-Fi network in Australia.
The Queensland government contributed $15,000 to jumpstart the pilot, and Winton Shire Council is also pitching in. RAPAD will fund the extension of the Outback Telegraph smart tourism platform to all key centres in the region, reaching some of the most remote communities in the state.
RAPAD board member and Mayor of Barcoo Shire Council Bruce Scott said the next stage of the regional Wi-Fi network will add more locations, including Longreach, Barcaldine and Windorah.
“A single sign-on for the Central West means visitors won’t have to re-enter their details as they move around, making it much more convenient to stay connected during their travels,” he said.
“This is the first step towards making the Central West a smart region, where technology supports important local industries like tourism and makes our communities better connected and more liveable.”
Visitors will be able to connect to the network through the Outback Telegraph app, which will be available from Google and Apple. The mobile app can also interact with smart beacons placed around town, allowing the user to access additional information about local businesses, receive a coupon or special offer, and guide them on discovery walks.
The Outback Telegraph was showcased at this week’s Bush Councils Convention in Charters Towers, with RAPAD also hoping to hold an upcoming ‘hacking’ event for the Central West to come up with ideas leveraging the regional Wi-Fi, app and beacons.
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