Free Wi-fi in the Mall Update

This report is going to Council Committee on 18th November

Background
In the Council Meeting held on 3 December, 2012, Council resolved to go ahead with the proposal put forward by Star-tech to install a free Wi-Fi service in Chatswood Mall on a 6 month trial.

Discussion
Star-tech installed a free Wi-Fi service in the Chatswood Mall as per their proposal which went live on the 22nd April 2013. Star-tech’s initial model was to raise revenue to support the ongoing infrastructure costs through advertising in conjunction with a marketing company SkyHub.

The free Wi-Fi service has been very successful with an average monthly patronage of over 1,100 unique users and almost 14,000 sessions during this time. The service has been provided without any technical or performance issues and has offered the public fast, reliable and robust access to the internet.

The expected advertising revenue projected by the proponent has not come to fruition and as a result Star-tech have revised their free Wi-Fi service model going forward after the six month trial period.

The proposal going forward is for Council to pay an annual maintenance fee of $5000 ex GST for the ongoing use of the free public access Wi-Fi service. It is worth noting that Council has not expended any funds at this stage for the installation of this project, and the $5000 will cover the costs originally foreseen as revenue raised through advertising.

Similarly, it is also worth noting that a free Wi-Fi service is seen as a critical component of economic development of business districts and this minor investment has a good impact on users of the Chatswood Mall.

OFFICER’S RECOMMENDATION
That Council note the report and support the continuation of the free Wi-Fi service in the Chatswood mall

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