Adelaide City Council wants to lay up to 100km of fibre optic cable through its CBD in the hope that a dedicated high-speed network for businesses will lure big organisations back to its streets.
The council has resolved to go ahead with a full business case into the viability of the build, which CIO Peter Auhl said would offer 10Gbps upload and download speeds to local business customers.
He told iTnews the city-wide network was also being designed to link up to major global data exchanges run by the likes of Equinix and Megaport, to offer businesses high-speed access to international data centre networks.
Auhl said the concept equates to “creating a city that is one big local area network”.
“At the moment Adelaide businesses are competing with domestic internet workloads for bandwidth. We have heard them complain that they are losing productivity when kids get home from school and fire up their video games," he said.
He pointed to local film post-production company Rising Sun, which has had to call on the state government to help with data connections it needs to transfer film and data back to its Hollywood customers.
The council won’t have a firm idea of what the network will cost until the business case is complete. Lord mayor Martin Haese told ABC radio the construction could be “something which is $10 million or something which is considerably more”, but the city is looking at public-private partnerships to get the fee-for-service business model off its feet.
However, he said he was confident this kind of infrastructure will attract big business back to the state’s ailing economy, eyeing off everything from universities, to software developers, medical researchers, and banks.
“We’ve got to really look at doing things a bit differently if we’re going to attract bigger employers back to the city. Over the last 30 or 40 years we’ve lost a number of them, we need to reverse that trend and it might just be this technology which does that," he said.
The business case will go to council for a vote in early 2017.
Auhl thinks Adelaide, with its compact CBD, is in a prime position to create “a real point of difference” as a hub for the digital economy.
“This is like the sewer [network] of the 21st Century,” he said.
The state government recently invested $4.65 million to extend the SABRENet network it co-owns with South Australian universities to a handful of selected business and technology parks, also with the intention of luring employers back to SA.