Norm Marlborough

Norm Marlborough

Former Minister for Small Business; Peel and the South West; Minister Assisting the Minister for Education and Training

    Information Technology boost in the South-West

    27/10/2006 11:45 AM

    Wireless Hot Spots.

    South-West Minister Norm Marlborough said today he was pleased to announce wireless Internet was to get a boost with a move to create wireless ‘hot spots’ at the regions’ telecentres.

    “This represents a new opportunity for thousands of Internet users including business, commerce, education, health and tourism to gain wireless Internet access,” Mr Marlborough said.

    “These hot spots will allow both business visitors and tourists, as well as locals, to purchase Internet access at the local telecentre and then use their laptop anywhere within the town centre and connect to the Internet.

    “The State Government is making up to $20,000 available to the region’s 10 telecentres to develop local wireless hot spots in town centres.”

    Wireless hotspots enable people with wireless-equipped laptops to obtain a local signal and plug into Internet when in range. It is expected the range will cover town centre precincts.

    Mr Marlborough said the technology would be piloted through the Nannup Telecentre and if successful, rolled out across the region.

    A package of measures would be rolled out to ensure the South-West region was brought up to speed with the metropolitan area’s information technology capabilities.

    “The State Government is also providing further support to telecentres and learning centres to use the Internet to expand education opportunities within the region,” the Minister said.

    “Whether it is learning languages, how to fix the car, or how to be water-wise, accessing the resources available on the Internet is critical.”

    The South West Development Commission has allocated $70,000 each year for a two-year pilot.

    Four centres would be involved: the Boyup Brook Telecentre, in partnership with Nannup and Pemberton Telecentres; Northcliffe Telecentre; Brunswick Learning Centre and Milligan Community Learning and Resource Centre.

    Each centre would receive funds to purchase equipment and support course facilitators to develop a model for online learning that can be introduced across the South-West into every small town.

    In addition, Mr Marlborough announced plans to take advantage of the recent allocation of $1.1billion through the Commonwealth’s Connect Australia Program to put in place high-speed broadband around Australia.

    The Minister has instructed the Peel and South West Development Commissions to develop a business plan to highlight to carriers the tremendous growth of the two regions and the opportunity available through the provision of high capacity, high speed broadband.

    “The aim is to maximise the chances of a successful application by a carrier to the Connect Australia Program to provide full coverage across the regions and use the opportunity presented by the construction of the Perth-Bunbury Highway to lay the conduit for high capacity optic fibre,” Mr Marlborough said.

    The Minister released the findings of an audit of broadband availability across the South-West region, which revealed that while broadband had been extended into 22 towns, nine towns were still without access.

    “This is a frustrating and unacceptable position, both for business and for home users, which needs to be addressed by bringing broadband in the regions up to speed with the city,” he said.

    “This is an ambitious target which both the Peel and the South West Development Commissions support and I urge carriers to get behind the business case and look at the opportunities,” Mr Marlborough said.

    Minister's office - 9213 6500