Residents, visitors and local businesses in Ararat and Lake Bolac will soon benefit from a free public WiFi network.
The Victorian Government's $1.56 million investment will see Ararat Rural City Council and Telstra design and deliver an advanced public WiFi network.
Ararat Rural City Council mayor Jo Armstrong said the project was significant for the municipality.
"Council has set ambitious plans that focus on delivering value for money for ratepayers and creating new opportunities for Ararat," she said.
"High-speed public WiFi takes us to the next level, transforming the way people connect.
"From showcasing the latest technology for businesses, through to engaging tourists and making it easier for people to access the information they need.
"This underpins Council's plans to be Australia's rural innovation capital, making Ararat an even better place to live, work, invest and visit."
Council chief executive Dr Tim Harrison said the government funding would set Ararat apart from other municipalities.
"The substantial investment by the Government and our partnership with Telstra, has enabled us to design one of the most advanced public WiFi networks in the world, here in Ararat," he said.
"We like being leaders in Ararat. We are going to be the mouse that roared - that small community that bats well above its average.
Dr Harrison said the council's partnership was the first of its kind.
"It's because of our ability to get things done, that we will be working in partnership with Telstra and Cisco to deliver what I understand is the first public trial of OpenRoaming technology in Australia.
"This means users will be able to seamlessly roam across cellular and WiFi networks, providing fast, secure and dedicated free public WiFi that will benefit businesses, residents and visitors.
"Telstra's trial of OpenRoaming and IoT technologies puts us at the forefront of 'smart cities' services, further amplifying the new network to deliver community benefits."
The state of the art free WiFi network is due to be completed in mid-2022.
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