Sydney transformed by free Wi-Fi and smart street furniture

Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Sydney transformed by free Wi-Fi and smart street furniture

Free Wi-Fi and smart street furniture will be rolled out across Sydney over the next two years, as part of a major overhaul of the city.

The City of Sydney is calling for expressions of interest from service providers to provide free public Wi-Fi and a new suite of street furniture, including bus shelters, kiosks, automatic public toilets, benches and bins — all in a consistent style and with technologies that support the needs of the city’s one million daily workers and visitors.

It is the first time in nearly two decades that the City’s street furniture contract is being put out to the market, creating an opportunity for designs that incorporate digital technologies and sustainable materials.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the changes would help make Sydney more attractive and accessible while meeting the needs of today’s tech-savvy commuters, residents and tourists.

“This is a unique opportunity to invest in new street furniture with a consistent style and using technologies to make it easier for people to stay informed and find their way around our city,” she said.

“Eventually we could see real-time emergency, event and transport information displayed on bus shelters.

“We want to make sure no-one is left behind in this shift to a digital future, so we’re looking for innovative local and international providers with new ideas to deliver fast and free public Wi-Fi.

“Across the expressions of interest, we’re looking for modern sustainable designs that use energy-efficient materials and fittings.”

The City’s existing street furniture contracts have been in place since 1998 and are due to expire by mid-2019.

The cost of supplying, installing and maintaining the new street furniture items is estimated at less than the cost of purchasing and maintaining the existing street furniture.

Expressions of interest are open until 6 February, with the contracts for both the Wi-Fi service and street furniture to be awarded around mid-2018.

The existing street furniture items will be progressively removed and replaced with new items from 2019.

Advertising panels will be allowed on certain items — subject to development consent on a site-by-site basis — with advertising sales revenue being used to fund the supply and maintenance of the new street furniture.

A portion of advertising on street furniture items will be reserved for cultural events that support the arts and encourage people to take part in local creative endeavours.

Image courtesy of City of Sydney.

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