Lake Macquarie to roll out LoRaWAN network

By Jonathan Nally
Tuesday, 10 July, 2018

Lake Macquarie to roll out LoRaWAN network

A partnership between Lake Macquarie City Council, Dantia and NNNCo is rolling out a huge IoT-capable network.

Lake Macquarie City Council on the NSW Central Coast is to set up an extensive long-range wide-area network (LoRaWAN) that will cover an area equivalent in size to 23 Sydney local government areas.

The project was officially launched on 9 July by the federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities, Paul Fletcher.

Peter Francis, CEO of Dantia — the economic development company of Lake Macquarie City — said the rollout of the carrier-grade LoRaWAN for the Internet of Things (IoT) will be a “game changer” for the region.

“This network is being installed to support citywide initiatives that will enable business and enterprise to drive their own IoT projects and enterprises,” said Francis.

“The scale of the Lake Macquarie City infrastructure is unprecedented. It will make Lake Macquarie the first Australian city to provide 100% commercial-grade IoT network coverage to all populated areas across the LGA, some 650 square kilometres.

“The investment in this infrastructure will create significant opportunities across Lake Macquarie City for start-ups, small and large businesses, and open pathways for Lake Macquarie council to build new technology and innovate,” he added.

To encourage use of the network and attract business to the region, tech start-ups will be given free access and businesses and corporates will receive a 15% discount if they establish operations in Lake Macquarie City.

The council has already established partnerships with corporations such as the University of Technology Sydney, Slingshot, Ampcontrol, ResTech and Hunter Water, as well as start-ups such as Marine Connect, Liftango and BinShare, all of which are primed to use the network.

The network is commercially funded for a 20-year contract period, delivered via a partnership between Dantia, Lake Macquarie City Council and IoT provider The National Narrowband Network Co (NNNCo).

The development comes hot on the heels of the announcement of a similar network, also involving NNNCo, being rolled out by the neighbouring Newcastle City Council.

“With this sustainable, long-term approach to infrastructure delivery and the significant incentives for start-ups and businesses, we see Lake Macquarie becoming a major digital and innovation hub that will attract new organisations and jobs to the area,” said Francis.

Map showing the Lake Macquarie area, with LoRaWAN hotspots marked

Lake Macquarie IoT network Phase 1 coverage map.

Minister Fletcher said the IoT presents opportunities to improve productivity, livability and service delivery across many sectors.

“IoT is estimated to have the potential to add up to $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,” the Minister 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.

“The Turnbull government is committed to making our suburbs and towns better places to live through initiatives such as the $50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program, and it’s great to see organisations come together as they have in this case to achieve these outcomes,” Minister Fletcher said.

According to the council, NNNCo was chosen to install and operate the network based on its proven ability to deploy low-cost, low-power, carrier-grade connectivity and end-to-end IoT solutions such as water metering and street lighting.

“One of the challenges with IoT is the complexity of receiving data from lots of different devices and applications and transforming that data into knowledge that supports decision-making,” said Francis.

“Working in partnership with NNNCo, we have the means to overcome these challenges and scale to multiple applications that will make Lake Macquarie a truly Smart City.”

NNNCo founder and CEO Rob Zagarella said the network would be a showcase for what other cities could achieve.

“We are working with Dantia and Lake Macquarie City in a true partnership model whereby 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,” he 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. That’s when you start creating real knowledge and outcomes that can improve the quality of life for citizens.”

The Mayor of Lake Macquarie, Councillor Kay Fraser, said the development reinforced the City’s commitment to “creating a strong digital economy and supporting innovation”.

“Through this partnership Dantia will deliver new infrastructure that will enable our City to diversify, expand our economy and create new jobs.”

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