Keeping Ceduna communities connected to essential services with Public WiFi
With an existing Federal Government contract to provide 300 Indigenous communities with WiFi and broadband access, Australian Private Networks (APN) were contracted to investigate solutions in the Ceduna area by the Department of Social Services.
The Communications Challenge
Communications infrastructure across selected Indigenous communities was required by the Department of Social Services to support the rollout of the new cashless 'Healthy Welfare' debit card.
The trial of the 'Healthy Welfare' debit card followed recommendations from the 2014 Forrest Review that aimed to "give people the capacity to stabilise their financial arrangements to ensure secure housing, payment of regular bills and food on the table" (The Forrest Review: Creating Parity).
In order for the card to operate, the Australian Government was faced with the cost of deploying communications infrastructure to small and remote Indigenous populations with often harsh environmental conditions.
The APN Solution
The installation of dedicated satellite dishes and WiFi towers to distribute online access across each community, was completed by APN within two months of Government sign-off.
APN's reliable and flexible solution, not only provides community members with continuous online access that can be used to activate, top up and transact with Healthy Welfare cards, but also offers public access to the internet.
Communities that previously relied on inconsistent coverage and expensive mobile phone data to get online can now buy access on a Pay As You Go basis using any WiFi-enabled device, and are consistently receiving city speeds of 18-20 megabit per second download.
After just over a year in operation, APN's satellite and public WiFi infrastructure has proved to be reliable in each of the Ceduna communities, and the renewed contract guarantees service for a further year, starting 31 March 2017.
"We've had positive feedback from many people in these communities who have never before been able to access the internet locally. The heaviest usage is coming from larger centres that have medical facilities and schools."
By understanding the objectives of our clients and working closely with the nbn™, APN is continually developing new solutions to meet the communications needs and challenges of rural and remote Australia.