CSIRO's Wi-Fi hub turns broadband mecca

CSIRO's Wi-Fi hub turns broadband mecca

Summary: CSIRO, National ICT Australia (NICTA) and the New South Wales Government have officially launched the multimillion-dollar Australian Centre for Broadband Innovation in Marsfield this morning on the same site that the research institution worked on its lucrative Wi-Fi patents.

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CSIRO, National ICT Australia (NICTA) and the New South Wales Government have officially launched the multimillion-dollar Australian Centre for Broadband Innovation in Marsfield this morning on the same site that the research institution worked on its lucrative Wi-Fi patents.

Australian Centre for Broadband Innovation

(Credit: Josh Taylor/ZDNet Australia)

The centre will receive $7.5 million in funding from the NSW Government over the next three years, and has received matching in-kind support from the CSIRO and NICTA. The centre will employ 20 people at the Marsfield location from 2011.

The centre is located at the CSIRO's Marsfield campus, and at the launch CSIRO group executive for information sciences Dr Alex Zelinsky noted some of the achievements at the location.

"This is actually the site where CSIRO invented the high-speed wireless LAN, or Wi-Fi. This technology is now in over a billion embedded devices around our planet," he said, adding that the Square Kilometre Array telescope was also being worked on at the location.

The centre was officially opened by Barry Buffier, deputy director general of Industry and Investment NSW. Buffier said the development of broadband in Australia was about "deposing the tyrant" of distance between regional and metropolitan Australia.

The centre's main focus will be to develop applications for use on the National Broadband Network in the areas of digital broadcasting, e-health, smart grids and e-government.

"As the government continues to increase its smart technologies to deliver public services ... this centre will work with government agencies and industry to develop applications that will deliver efficiencies for government and benefits for citizens," Buffier said. "I think it's absolutely essential for government services to be delivered through a service delivery model than the ones that have been traditionally used for sometimes 100 years."

The Marsfield centre will have a direct connection to NICTA at the Australian Technology Park and will work with the greenfields fibre-ready Parkbridge Estate in south west Sydney. One of the demonstrations at the centre included a social media set-top box that works in conjunction with ABC's iView media service. This device is planned to be used at the Parkbridge Estate.

There are also plans to connect to the NBN first release site of Armidale. NBN Co government relations principal Mike Kaiser was in attendance at the launch and Buffier indicated that NBN Co had expressed interest in working with the centre.

NICTA laboratory director Dr Terry Percival said ideas for broadband applications were spawned when researchers were asked to imagine that broadband was "free and infinite" and work from there.

Topics: Broadband, Emerging Tech, Government, Government AU, NBN

About

Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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