From March, free, albeit ad-supported, Wi-Fi will be available at Melbourne's Flinders St Station, the start of a three-month trial that could see the service extended to other inner city stops. The initiative is a joint effort by Metro, Melbourne's railway operator, GoConnect, a provider of "video infotainment and interactive advertisement" and Netbay, an ISP I can't say I've heard of before.
For now, Metro's limiting the wireless to Melbourne's busiest station, after which it will decided whether it wants the rest of the city loop to benefit from the service. It's part of a greater scheme, the "Future Melbourne Plan", its goal to groom Melbourne into being "one of the top ten most liveable and sustainable cities in the world".
The ASX press release states speeds will be "20 times faster than [sic] 3G mobile network", but this will no doubt be subject to congestion.
Speaking with GoConnect's executive chairman Richard Li, the Herald Sun reports the service could find its way to stations outside of the city loop, with South Yarra getting a specific mention. Advertising will be used to keep the service viable, and logging on will require you to cough up your age and gender.
Flinders St Station is about 100m from my door, so you can bet I'll be giving this a crack once it's available in a month's time. Hopefully it'll provide some respite from the seemingly endless "Wait for announcements" messages I see these days.