Free WI-FI for Bendigo

PREMIER Dr Denis Napthine will announce a free WI-FI trial in Bendigo today.

The move will allow people to access WI-FI hotspots for free in the Bendigo CBD for a trial period of up to five years.

Dr Napthine said the public WI-FI trial would boost productivity and quality of life for Bendigo residents and visitors.

''The initiative aims to pilot fast, reliable and free WI-FI services in central Bendigo in and around publicly-owned infrastructure, including public transport hubs and tourist attractions, for the next three to five years,” Dr Napthine said. 

It follows a similar announcement for Melbourne CBD on Wednesday.

Dr Napthine said the government was seeking expressions of interest to provide a reliable, sustainable free service that was filtered for prohibited and undesirable content.

Expressions of interest are open until April 17 this year.

"All responses will be assessed on their commercial viability,'' Dr Napthine said.

''Strong preference (will be) given to proposals where there is no ongoing cost to government, beyond any potential initial investment to establish the infrastructure," Dr Napthine said. 

“Government investment could include direct grants or in-kind contributions like advertising, sponsorship and priority access to public infrastructure and facilities.” 

“Providing strategic WI-FI hotspots across central Melbourne, central Bendigo and central Ballarat will encourage community uptake of digital technologies and the development of new applications which will see benefits in building a better Victoria," he said.

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan said it was a great opportunity to integrate free WI-FI into Victoria's regional centres. 

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