Publications & Presentations

outputs2017

How do Australians use public wi-fi?
Workshop: City government & the infrastructures of wireless urbanism – setting a research agenda, Melbourne, 13 February 2017
Details | Slides

2016

Practicing Safe Public Wi-Fi: Assessing and Managing Data-Security Risks
A research report developed with support from the auDA Foundation
Details | Report

Digital innovation, community collaboration, economic regeneration: The development of Goulburn free public wi-fi (an audio documentary)
Launched at Broadband for the Bush Forum V, Brisbane, 8-9 June 2016
Details Audio

Digital Interventions in Declining Regions. Ian McShane, Chris K Wilson & Denise Meredyth
In Digital Materialities: Anthropology and Design, 2016, ( eds) E. Ardevol, S. Pink and D. Lanzeni, London, Bloomsbury: pp.195-212.

2015

Regional innovation and public wi-fi
State of Australian Cities, Gold Coast, 9-11 December 2015
Paper

From phone box to FON: Re-configuring communication infrastructure in a wireless age
Swinburne Internet Policy Workshop, Swinburne University, Melbourne, 5 October 2015
Details | Slides

The urban age as wireless age
The Urban Age Lecture, RMIT University, Melbourne, 18 September 2015
Details | Slides

Public wi-fi: Emergent urban infrastructure in the Asia Pacific & South Asia
Report to the APEC Business Advisory Council Meeting, supported by the RMIT Global Cities Research Institute
Details | Report

Public wi-fi in the APEC economies: Emergent urban infrastructure
Urban Infrastructure Network Policy Dialogue, APEC Business Advisory Council Meeting, Melbourne, 10-13 August 2015
Details | Slides

Wireless citizens and the wireless city: Public wi-fi as renewed public investment in communication infrastructure
Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference, 8-10 July
Details | Slides

2014

Broadband as Civic Infrastructure – The Australian Case
Media International Australia, vol. 151.
Details

Economics of public WiFi
Australian Journal of Telecommunications and the Digital Economy, Vol 2, No.1
Details

2013

Why WiFi? A panel discussion on the provision of public WiFi in Australia
Hosted by the Centre for Communication, Politics and Culture, RMIT University, Thursday 12 December
Details | Slides

Public WiFi in Australia panel
Emerging Issues in Communication Research and Policy, News and Media Research Centre Conference,
University of Canberra, Monday 18 November
Details | Slides

Local Public Broadband – What Can Australia Learn from International Experience?
Going the Extra Distance – Get Mobile, INFOR PS Users Group Conference, Perth, 12 September
Details | Slides

Local Public Broadband – the Missing Link in Australia’s Broadband Debate?
The 3rd National Local Government Researchers’ Forum, Adelaide, June 2013
Details | Slides Full Paper

Municipal Broadband as Civic Infrastructure – the Australian Case
International Communications Association Annual Conference, London, June 2013
Details

Public Wi-Fi and Civic Infrastructure: Australian and European Comparisons
Digital Interventions Symposium RMIT University-Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, Universitet Oberta de Catalunya, Barecelona, 7 June.
Details

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How do Australians use public wi-fi?

Workshop: City government & the infrastructures of wireless urbanism – setting a research agenda, Melbourne, 13 February 2017

Available slides can be downloaded here.

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Practicing Safe Public Wi-Fi: Assessing and Managing Data-Security Risks. Ian McShane, Mark A Gregory and Chris K Wilson.

The report can be downloaded here.

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Digital innovation, community collaboration, economic regeneration: The development of Goulburn free public wi-fi (an audio documentary). Chris K Wilson, Ian McShane & Sally McPhee

Launched at Broadband for the Bush Forum V, Brisbane, 8-9 June 2016

In September 2013 the Goulburn Post reported that the deployment of new communications infrastructure could see the regional New South Wales town become “a world leading city in Information Technology”. It might come as a surprise that the Post was not referring to the federal government’s national broadband network (NBN)—the multi-billion dollar project that has been promoted as having the power to transform the communications landscape of both regional and urban Australia. Instead, the Post was describing the rollout of a free public wi-fi network in the town centre by “a progressive minded community group … [with] financial support from both Council and the local business community”. While the global advantages that might accrue from the network may seem overstated, it is clearly considered an important local investment and a practical response to perceived deficiencies in both state- and market-led telecommunications provision in regional Australia.

Since November 2013 we have been visiting Goulburn to examine the public wi-fi network as a model of local digital innovation. On the surface, what we observed was a network that covers a substantial area, provides a relatively good user experience, and has, despite the tenuous nature of voluntary ventures, remained in continuous operation. Delving deeper, what we found was a unique community-government-commercial configuration that aims to enact an ethos of local innovation, community collaboration and entrepreneurship as the basis for broader economic regeneration.

In this documentary we present the story of Goulburn’s public wi-fi network as told by those who initiated it, the community, business and government stakeholders that developed it, and the Australian and international experts who have investigated it.

Audio can be downloaded here.

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Public wi-fi in the APEC economies: Emergent urban infrastructure. Chris K Wilson, Clare Shamier & Ian McShane

Urban Infrastructure Network Policy Dialogue, APEC Business Advisory Council Meeting, Melbourne, 10-13 August 2015

Public wi-fi is emerging as a key part of the urban communications ecology in the Asia Pacific and South Asia. This presentation provides an overview of wi-fi technology, the history of public wi-fi projects, and highlights the range of actors, business models, and rationales involved in its deployment.

Available slides can be downloaded here.

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Public wi-fi: Emergent urban infrastructure in the Asia Pacific & South Asia. Chris K Wilson, Clare Shamier & Ian McShane

Report to the APEC Business Advisory Council Meeting, supported by the RMIT Global Cities Research Institute

The report can be downloaded here.

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Wireless citizens and the wireless city: Public wi-fi as renewed public investment in communication infrastructure. Chris K Wilson & Ian McShane

Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference, 8-10 July

In March 2014 the Victorian state government announced that it would partner with local government authorities and a commercial provider to pilot free public wi-fi networks in the central business districts of Melbourne and two regional centres: Bendigo and Ballarat. In doing so, the State of Victoria would join a rapidly expanding group of Australian local and state governments investing in such networks, engaging in the nitty-gritty of communication infrastructure provision that had previously been a federal responsibility, and which even that level of government had been attempting to extract itself from for more than two decades before succumbing to the lure of developing a national optical fibre broadband network. In this paper we examine the development of public wi-fi in Victoria, situating it in what has emerged as a dynamic field of public communications investment, both nationally and internationally.

Available slides can be downloaded here.

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Broadband as Civic Infrastructure – The Australian Case. Ian McShane, Chris Wilson & Denise Meredyth

Media International Australia, vol. 151, 2014, Broadband Futures: Content, Connectivity and Control

Australian municipal governments have lagged behind many of their international counterparts in local public broadband provision. However, by 2013 there are clear signs that the gap is closing, with a significant upsurge of investment in public Wi-Fi by city governments across Australia. This article contextualises the current interest in public Wi-Fi by analysing international developments in municipal broadband and the spasmodic involvement of Australian local authorities in this field. We argue that the rhetoric of broadband as a ‘fourth utility’ unduly prioritises the role of higher governments in Australia, constraining a full exploration of how broadband might be imagined as a form of civic infrastructure.

Journal issue information is available here

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Economics of public WiFi. Jason Potts

Australian Journal of Telecommunications and the Digital Economy, Vol. 2, No. 1, Mar 2014: [20.1]-[20.9]

Local governments in urban regions continue to find the idea of public or municipal WiFi attractive. This is for multiple reasons, not all of which are based on economic logic (such as city branding, vote-buying, emergency services, commercial lobbying, peak-traffic broadband off-loading). However, the purpose of this paper is to gather together the basic economic arguments for and against public provision of municipal WiFi. First, we consider what type of economic good WiFi is, and the logic for public rather than market provision. Second, we review four main economic arguments against public WiFi (capitalization; no market failure; competitive distortion; inefficiency of supply side response). Finally, we consider what may be the strongest, yet least made, case for publicly funded municipal WiFi, which is local demand discovery as an implicit subsidy for WiFi entrepreneurship and innovation.

Journal issue information is available here

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Why WiFi? A panel discussion on the provision of public WiFi in Australia

Hosted by the Centre for Communication, Politics and Culture, RMIT University, Thursday 12 December

Australian local authorities showed little interest in public WiFi during its international development boom in the early 2000s, and Australia was largely bypassed by the policy and scholarly debates of this period. New proposals and experiments with public WiFi by several Australian local governments and public transport authorities suggest the provision gap between Australia and many other parts of the globe is closing. These developments are occurring within a new technological and policy environment characterized by the introduction of next generation networks and new rules around network interoperability, and the emergence of new business models and strategic alliances between commercial and public providers. They have the potential to overcome some existing blockages to public WiFi provision, but raise new questions over rationales for public investment.

This panel discussion explored some of the policy, economic, technological and social dimensions surrounding the introduction of public WiFi networks in Australia.

The panel was introduced by Chris Hudson (RMIT University), co-director of the Centre for Communication, Politics and Culture and Associate Professor in the School of Media and Communication.

The panel included: Colin Fairweather (City of Melbourne); Ian McShane (Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University) Jason Potts (School of Economics, Finance and Marketing, RMIT University), Mark Gregory (School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, RMIT University) and  Julian Thomas (Swinburne Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology)

Slides presented by Colin Fairweather, Ian McShane and  Jason Potts are available can be downloaded here

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Public WiFi in Australia panel

Emerging Issues in Communication Research and Policy, News and Media Research Centre Conference,
University of Canberra, Monday 18 November

The News and Media Research Centre Conference first major conference Emerging Issues in Communication Research and Policy included almost fifty papers on aspects of communication policy, media, and telecommunications. The conference not only provided a a forum for research, but brought together academic researchers, media practitioners and government professionals working in the media, internet and telecommunications fields to consider the implications of research findings for government and the community.

The Public WiFi in Australia panel session, which included a formal response from Catherine Middleton (Ryerson University), comprised the following presentations:

Public Wi-Fi in Remote Communities
Julian Thomas & Ellie Rennie (Swinburne Institute for Social Research)

Economics of Public Wi-Fi: Who Benefits, Who Pays?
Jason Potts (School of Economics, Finance and Marketing, RMIT University)

Public Wi-Fi in Australia: A Brief History
Ian McShane (Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University)

Available slides can be downloaded here.

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Local Public Broadband – What Can Australia Learn from International Experience? Ian McShane

Going the Extra Distance – Get Mobile, INFOR PS Users Group Conference, Perth, 12 September

The Infor Public Sector User Forum is an incorporated entity whose membership is made up of Local Government and Water Authorities in Australia and New Zealand, along with some commercial companies who utilise the Pathway PPR & Hansen Asset Management applications, owned and developed by Infor Public Sector.

At the 2013 conference Ian McShane (Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University) presented the paper Local Public Broadband – the Missing Link in Australia’s Broadband Debate?

The slides from this presentation can be downloaded here.

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Local Public Broadband – the Missing Link in Australia’s Broadband Debate? Ian McShane

The 3rd National Local Government Researchers’ Forum, Adelaide, June 2013

The Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) and the Local Government Association of South Australia held the 2013 Local Government Researchers’ Forum on the 6th and 7th of June at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. The Local Government Researchers’ Forum is a biennial forum for local government researchers and practitioners to present current research in the sector and discuss the implications for policy and practice.

Ian McShane (Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University) presented the paper Local Public Broadband – the Missing Link in Australia’s Broadband Debate? at the forum.

The slides from this presentation can be downloaded here, and the full paper is available here.

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Municipal Broadband as Civic Infrastructure – the Australian Case. Ian McShane & Denise Meredyth

International Communications Association Annual Conference, London, June 2013

The International Communication Association (ICA) is an academic association for scholars interested in the study, teaching, and application of all aspects of human and mediated communication. ICA began more than 50 years ago as a small association of U.S. researchers and is now a truly international association with more than 4,800 members in 77 countries.

At the 2013 ICA conference Ian McShane (Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University) and Denise Meredyth (College of Design and Social Context, RMIT University) presented the poster Local Public Broadband – the Missing Link in Australia’s Broadband Debate? in the Communication Law and Policy Interactive Poster Session.

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Public Wi-Fi and Civic Infrastructure: Australian and European Comparisons. Denise Meredyth & Ian McShane

Digital Interventions Symposium
RMIT University-Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, Universitet Oberta de Catalunya, Barecelona, 7 June

The Digital Interventions Symposium was a joint initiative of RMIT University in Melbourne and the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia, UOC). Hosted by the IN3, the event was organized to share experiences involving research in the field of digital media and social and cultural transformations.

At the symposium Denise Meredyth (College of Design and Social Context, RMIT University) presented the paper Public Wi-Fi and Civic Infrastructure: Australian and European Comparisons which was co-authored by Ian McShane (Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University).

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