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September 2017


Winton wi-fi roll-out

Keeping grey nomads in touch

Outbreak Telegraph switched on

Queensland's Wi-Fi roll-out helps keep grey nomads in touch during their travels

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GREY nomads are already benefiting as the roll-out of an extensive free Wi-Fi system gets underway in the Sunshine State's remote regions.

The new technology covers one-fifth of Queensland and is seen as a booster for visitor numbers and businesses.

The proposed Outback Telegraph involves the mayors of seven Central West councils, with the first stage being switched on by Winton Shire Council.

The Queensland Government contributed $15,000 to jump-start the pilot in the outback town.

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said that when the network is fully up and running it would be ‒ in total council area ‒ the biggest single public Wi-Fi network in Australia.

"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," she said.

"I congratulate Winton Shire Council for taking the ground-breaking 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.”

Remote Area Planning and Development Board member and Mayor of Barcoo Shire Council Bruce Scott said the next stage of the regional Wi-Fi network would 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.

Winton Mayor Butch Lenton acknowledged the pulling power of public Wi-Fi.

"It will be a magnet to people with mobile devices who are a long way from their family and friends and travelling around the countryside," he said.

Grey nomads will be able to connect to the network through the Outback Telegraph app, 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.

Cr Lenton said Winton Shire Council was collecting tourism statistics from the free Wi-Fi to show how visitors are moving through the region and where they are and are not stopping.

“We can build stronger businesses with this data," he explained.

"Winton has a rich history that includes the Great Shearers’ Strike, Banjo Patterson's Waltzing Matilda, Qantas and a dinosaur stampede.

"There are also opal fields and a wide variety of animals and bird life in the area.

“Free Wi-Fi can help us share our stories, history and visitor experiences on social channels to entice more tourists and encourage them to stay longer once they're here."


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Copyright 2005 Dennis Amor
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