A new $1.56 million Community Hub and Digital Co-Working Space is set to open in Ararat this week, in a partnership between the Victorian Government and Ararat Rural City Council.
The Hub has been delivered through the government’s $3.5 million Regional Digital Fund which supports small-scale digital projects identified through the local Regional Partnership.
The Community Hub and Digital Co-Working Space will provide a central location for local businesses and individuals to better connect and collaborate.
Ararat Rural City Council will deliver the project in partnership with Telstra, building 48 WiFi hotspots to connect Ararat’s retail precinct, the Visitor Information Centre, the Ararat Active Corridor and Lake Bolac foreshore.
“Ararat and Lake Bolac are going to be among the first communities in Australia to benefit from this world-first technology, amplifying opportunities for local investment and innovation,” said Council’s CEO, Tim Harrison.
Due to be complete in early 2022, the fibre and cellular WiFi connectivity will also give council the opportunity to fast-track more ‘smart city’ services like visitor touch-on screens, CCTV and real-time updates on important road closures and emergency alerts, Dr Harrison said.
Ararat will also benefit from a trial of OpenRoaming technology in a partnership between Telstra and Cisco, which will allow users to seamlessly roam across cellular and WiFi networks, he said.
“Having access to the internet is important for everyone, no matter where they live or what they do, so I’m thrilled Ararat and Lake Bolac will soon have access to free WiFi hotspots at dozens of locations,” said Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Jaala Pulford.