NNNCo scores Lake Macquarie smart city network contract

NNNCo will help deploy an IoT network across 650 square kilometres of the Lake Macquarie area.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor
(Image: NNNCo)

Australia's National Narrowband Network Co (NNNCo) has announced that it will be building out an Internet of Things (IoT) network across the City of Lake Macquarie to roll out smart city services including smart street lighting and water meters.

The long-range wide-area network (LoRaWAN) will enable the Lake Macquarie local government area to "create a smart city network equivalent to the size of 23 Sydney local government areas", or around 650 square kilometres of coverage.

Startups will be given free access to the network, with businesses able to receive a 15 percent discount on connecting if they set up operations in Lake Macquarie City, Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities Paul Fletcher announced.

"We'll be able to support businesses in the area to get their projects up and running quickly and effectively, while also enabling the city to scale important services like smart waste management," NNNCo CEO Rob Zagarella said.

"Smart cities start with a carrier-grade network, but equally important is the device and data platform that seamlessly converts data from many different types of devices into a common format and structure."

The network will be commercially funded for 20 years, and delivered by Lake Macquarie City Council, NNNCo, and Dantia. Already signing on to use the network are the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Hunter Water, Slingshot, Ampcontrol, BinShare, ResTech, and Marine Connect.

"IoT is estimated to have the potential to add up to AU$120 billion annually to the Australian economy by 2025, and Lake Macquarie is now positioned to be at the forefront of IoT network and infrastructure delivery," Fletcher said.

"This is an innovative example of what can be achieved when local governments and commercial partners work together, aligned with strong, future-city building policy."

Under the federal government's AU$50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program, UTS -- which has also been working on 5G development -- had been given AU$433,000 for Liveable Neighbourhoods in Lake Macquarie and Sydney City.

NNNCo has been working on IoT and smart city projects across the nation, in April announcing that it would be building a commercial-grade IoT network in Newcastle.

Its network will enable the connectivity of smart parking, lighting, transport, and waste-management systems.

City Council Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes at the time said the project would "confirm" Newcastle's smart city leadership after adopting a strategy in July last year. The New South Wales government kicked in AU$4.98 million for the project, with Newcastle also winning the second-largest federal government grant for smart cities projects, scoring AU$5 million at the end of last year alongside its co-contribution of more than AU$10 million.

NNNCo has previously worked on IoT trials with Melbourne's metropolitan water utilities to test coverage, data delivery, and battery life of digital water metering for City West Water, South East Water, and Yarra Valley Water.

This followed trials of LoRaWAN technology with Ergon Energy in Queensland back in 2016, with NNNCo in June last year also announcing a joint-venture company called Connected Country to construct and manage a nationwide LoRaWAN IoT network in partnership with Discover Ag.

NNNCo then signed an operator agreement with LoRa IoT provider Actility during Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 in Barcelona in February, which will see NNNCo run its network core in Australia using the Actility ThingPark IoT software platform and wireless solution.

The company last year also launched three IoT and machine-to-machine devices for use on LoRaWAN networks with Murata: Demand response enabling devices; a controller for smart streetlights; and a device that accepts inputs from sensors and sends data over LoRa networks.

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