Sydney to bridge harbour with Wi-Fi ferries

The Australian city is considering providing wireless Internet access on the ferries that move commuters and visitors around the bay

The NSW State Transit Authority is considering installing wireless broadband access on its fleet of Sydney ferries, turning them into mobile wireless hot spots, according to Personal Broadband Australia marketing director, John Filmer.

Filmer today said the NSW STA had been involved in technology trials using a combination of wireless LAN and iBurst's mobile wireless technologies that has the potential to turn the ferries into wireless hot spots.

"You can set up a [wireless] access point using a more traditional broadband backhaul [such as] DSL or cable but you can't do that on a ferry," said Filmer.

Filmer said it wasn't yet clear if Sydney Ferries or a private ISP would provide the access but predicted that the charging regime was likely to be similar to those employed at conventional hot spots such Internet cafes and McDonalds.

"If the hot spots are provided by one of the carriers like Telstra or SingTel, they generally combine it with your mobile and there are other wireless access point providers like Zone and Azure have charging regime where you subscribe, establish an account, and they bill you," said Filmer.

Filmer was today cautious about naming the ISP that was involved in the trials.

ZDNet Australia's Andrew Colley reported from Sydney. For more coverage from ZDNet Australia, click here.

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