The NSW government proposed to roll out free wireless across parts of NSW at the previous election.
As per typical government promises, the total work began towards such commitment is absolutely 0. There’s no government based wireless network running for free at this time.
And why would there be? Internet access is far from a essential, and I don’t think any government (espiecially one run in debt, and barely capable of managing roads!), should be putting any money towards something the private sector is capable of funding.
Sure, it’ll be a benefit for tourists to have free wireless access, and it’s still possible for the private sector to decide to set something like that up using ad funding, or even allow purchasing blocks using a credit card through a web gateway.
Free wireless is simply a fad if you ask me. Bandwidth costs money, and in Australia, it’s a LOT of money. Power costs money, and well, you can guess that’s not free, and setup and maintaining a wireless network isn’t free, for you have wireless hardware also!
I can see the general theory with it being sound, in that you can get access to internet where you otherwise wouldn’t for either reasons on technical grounds, or if your a tourist, the terms dictated by retail providers are generally not viable for the access required (a 6 month contract!).
But, it doesn’t make it an easy choice for consumers, who will lose out on the bandwidth they pay for and hardware, and certainly the NSW government won’t gain much by rolling out free wireless. It won’t clean up our beaches, it won’t fix the stuffed roads, it won’t fix the hospital issues, among many other problems that lie right at Iemma’s foot.
I don’t think anyone will start right into any form of ‘free’ wireless, until there is money to be made off it.