Free WiFi hits Perth City

PERTH company aCure Technology has launched the city's first CBD-wide free WiFi service - beating competitors and the City of Perth.

Unlike the many wireless hotspots available in the city, aCure's wireless technology is a 'holistic' service utilising radio antennae, enabling users to connect across the CBD both in and outdoors.

The service is hosted on aCure's MetroMesh platform, for which the company owns both the hardware and software.

Plans for free wireless internet access have been mooted for years, with the ResourcesNet service launched in 2007 by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia one of the first hotspot-based trials to get off the ground.

The City of Perth is also trialling additional wireless hotspots in the CBD following the success of its free WiFi offered in the Northbridge Piazza.

iiNet is also offering wireless internet hotspots, however, they are limited to subscribers.

Grant Farrow, aCure's data centre sales manager, told WA Business News end-to-end ownership prompted aCure to offer the service free of charge.

"Because the platform exists, it's been tested and it doesn't cost us anything, so we took the decision to give something back," Mr Farrow said.

"We've just said 'right well it's not costing us anything we may as well just make it free and allow people to use it'."

The service was initially launched in 2006 for subscribers but has been available free of charge since October.

More than 1,500 people have already logged on to the service.

Mr Farrow said exposure to those users was a positive for the company but aCure was also taking on clients to use the platform for advertising.

The City of Joondalup is taking advantage of the advertising potential, with an advertisement featured on the user log-on page.

Most of aCure's revenue comes from its data centre clients - meaning free WiFi would not have a significant impact on its bottom line.

The company has just opened its third data centre and is already mulling over options to build the next, with demand for data centre space still increasing.

aCure is just one in a number of technology companies heavily investing in additional data centre space.

Melbourne-based company NEXTDC announced last month it had begun construction on its 9,600-square metre data centre in Malaga.

It is planning for the $80 million facility to be operational towards the end of next year.

Telstra has entered the Perth market, offering data centre space through the completion of a primary data centre in the northern suburbs.

Telstra's WA manager, David Ridgway, said the data centre was established to cater to demand for cloud-based services.

"With many organisations moving into the cloud ... the option to use local data centres is important either because their applications are sensitive to latency or they require data to be hosted within their state," Mr Ridgway said.

Telstra plans to begin hosting services in the next few months.

Vocus Data Centres is also looking to expand its capacity in Perth as its Perth iX data centre is running at 90 per cent capacity.

Vocus has also been involved in a flurry of data centre acquisitions in Australia and New Zealand. It has added four data centres to its portfolio - two in New Zealand and two in Newcastle - after acquiring Maxnet and Ipera.

It has also taken a lease on a data centre in Melbourne, which was previously run by the Australian Securities Exchange and is undergoing a multi-million dollar refit.

reality engine

Creative solutions for small business in Perth

Join our mailing list.

Be the first to know about new products and get early access to all of our sales.

We respect your privacy.