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South Australia's GigCity to expand into two regional cities

Whyalla and Mt Gambier will gain connectivity to the network by the end of the year
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor

South Australian Innovation and Skills Minister David Pisoni has announced that the regional cities of Whyalla and Mt Gambier will gain connectivity to Adelaide's GigCity network before the end of the year.

The South Australian government has provided AU$1 million to fund the rollout, with Adelaide company MIMP Connecting Solutions receiving the nod to perform the network expansion.

Prior to providing the AU$1 million for the GigCity network, the SA government used AU$7.6 million to help set up the initial dozen GigCity precincts and allocated AU$2.9 million over four years during last year's state budget towards adding more precincts to the network. 

"We have a vision to make South Australia the nation's startup capital, with the highest rate of business startups per capita within a decade," Pisoni said. 

GigCity is based on the state-owned high-speed backbone network called SABRENet, the South Australian Broadband Research and Education Network. It connects designated key innovation precincts, which are currently only in Adelaide -- with others in the pipeline. Businesses in those precincts can buy gigabit fibre connections from the "precinct manager" through retail service provider EscapeNet.

Whyalla Council CEO Chris Cowley said the rollout would be a "game changer" for the local economy, with around 220 businesses in Mount Gambier and around 70 in Whyalla expected to take up the service. 

Read more: South Australia's GigCity plan is not what it seems  

"GigCity is an essential element for the transformation of Whyalla, which will allow businesses to gain a technological competitive advantage and drive innovation," Cowley said.

Once the rollout is complete, businesses in Whyalla and Mt Gambier will be able to sign up to internet services that provide 1GB download and upload speeds, with a government official claiming it will provide speeds that are 20 times faster than what is currently available.

Pricing for these services will be similar to those currently available in metropolitan Adelaide GigCity precincts, ranging from AU$50 to AU$180 per month, depending on the size of the business and the chosen plan.

The SA government last month, through its 2019-20 state Budget, also allocated funds to a handful of new and existing initiatives, such as AU$551 million for the Adelaide City Deal that was announced earlier this year.

The Adelaide City Deal is a partnership between the state government, the federal government, and the City of Adelaide, which hopes to create initiatives that add skilled and productive jobs of the future to the state's economy, boost Adelaide's population through migration and planning reforms, and enhance cultural experiences by generating greater opportunities in the state's tourism sector.

GigCity was launched back in 2017.


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