AU$1m videoconferencing project to service residents in Wollongong

Wollongong City Council will be able to directly address its residents, thanks to a partially federal government-funded videoconferencing project being implemented in the city.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Wollongong City Council has announced a project for online interaction between the council and its residents and businesses.

Minister for Regional Communications Sharon Bird said on Thursday that Wollongong City Council, on the south coast of New South Wales, will be implementing a videoconferencing system to enable residents and businesses to directly address the council.

The Australian government will provide AU$374,342 in funding for the project, with Wollongong City Council supplying AU$774,000. The project comes as part of the Digital Local Government program, which will cost the federal government AU$5.7 million over the next two years.

"This means residents can interact with Wollongong Council's customer services from one of seven local libraries, as well as their home or business via videoconferencing," Bird said. "All of this is only possible with high-speed broadband delivered by the NBN, which is already showing that it has the capacity to revolutionise the way local governments provide services."

According to Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery, "This project will deliver a range of enhanced online services, and will enable community members to interact more easily with council's customer service staff, saving time and money for both the council and our customers."

The announcement follows news in January of Wollongong City Council implementing free Wi-Fi in its outdoor shopping area, Crown Street Mall, and throughout other parts of the city.

Bradbery said at the time, "Free Wi-Fi in the city centre has great potential to encourage more people to visit, and to stay longer in the area. Whether you're in the city for work or leisure, it's now easier than ever to connect with local businesses, find out what's happening, and stay in touch with family and friends."

NBN Co contractor Visionstream has been tasked with rolling out the NBN fibre from the access node to the box outside each premises in Wollongong. The constructing company won the tender in March this year for AU$1 billion, which includes rolling out fibre to the premises in Brisbane, Melbourne, and other parts of southern New South Wales.

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