The South Australian government has flicked the switch on “ultra-fast” internet in Adelaide, making it “one of the most connected cities in the world”.
The $7.6 million GigCity Adelaide network offers gigabit internet services to startups and tech companies based in innovation precincts around the city.
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said the network was all about nurturing the state’s burgeoning innovation ecosystem.
“Through the GigCity Adelaide network, the South Australian government is opening the door to new ideas, new possibilities and new collaborations, making Adelaide one of the most connected cities in the world,” Mr Weatherill said.
“The state government is helping startups and companies grow faster and attract entrepreneurs to South Australia who want to tap into the infrastructure and business environment we are creating.”
GigCity is part of the state’s $80 million funding for “innovative businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers”.
Adelaide firm EscapeNet was awarded the lucrative tender in June to run the service through the South Australian Broadband Research and Education (SABRE) network fibre optic network.
The network would connect innovation precincts and coworking spaces in Adelaide, including the Tonsley Innovation Precinct, Stretton Centre and St Paul’s Creative Centre.
Tenants would be offered three tiers of the service. “Micro-businesses” would be offered a $50 per month deal for 200GB of data, while unlimited data will cost $100 per month. The last tier comes with a 1TB cap for $80 per month.
GigCity is another plank in the state’s recent efforts to cement itself as a player in the nation-wide competition for startups and tech companies, Science and Information Economy Minister Kyam Maher said.
“We know that having access to fast internet will help data intensive companies to do business and compete on a global level. By establishing GigCity ultra-fast internet at key innovation precincts, the state government is investing in a network that will create jobs of the future,” Mr Maher said.
“[It will] continue to consolidate our position as the leader in innovation in Australia. GigCity Adelaide is a clear message to entrepreneurs and businesses across Australia and overseas that we are open for business and want them to move here.”
This year’s state budget also included a further $2.9 million over the next four years to expand the GigCity network to regional South Australian locations, including Whyalla and Mount Gambier.
It comes just weeks after the state government revealed the esteemed Blue Sky Venture Capital will be running its $50 million venture capital fund. The fund, a first of its kind for an Australian state government, will be making direct equity investments in up to 12 startups across a 15-year period.
The need for gigabit-speed internet has been highly controversial in Australia recently, with National Broadband Network boss Bill Morrow saying that there is no need for internet speeds this fast in the country.
“The reality is that very few Australians have a use for gigabit speeds today. The fact is, the very few applications that demand this amount of data simply aren’t at scale yet,” Mr Morrow told the American Chamber of Commerce earlier this year.