CBRfree is one of the largest deployments of free, public WiFi in Australia and forms part of the ACT Government's commitment to Canberra's future as a smart and connected digital city. It provides access to a range of city services most conveniently accessed via broadband.
As at May 2017 there were 382 Wireless Access Points installed, including 248 outdoor WAPs. Covering the outdoor areas of many of Canberra's town centres, CBRfree is the only major deployment in Australia of free, public WiFi outside of the Central Business District.
CBRfree is an important source of broadband services for many Canberrans and visitors who don't have access to reliable fast broadband. CBRfree is popular with Canberrans, and visitors; attracting over 50,000 individual users per month.
Canberra's public schools are leading users of digital technologies with all students using a digital backpack to access timetables, assignments, textbooks and collaborative workspaces. By providing internet access in many locations out of school grounds, CBRfree complements the schools' investment in digital technologies.
The CBRfree WiFi network is also capable of supporting a range of smart city initiatives which will benefit the ACT community. For example, the CBRfree WiFi network provides a communications network for the ACT Government's Smart Parking trial in Manuka, and a trial of using CBRfree infrastructure to expand the reach of the City's CCTV network is being undertaken.
CBRfree provides users with access up to 250 megabytes per day over a fast broadband connection. This equates to around an hour of video content, or 50 photographs at 5 megabytes each, or 50 songs at 5 megabytes each.
CBRfree public WiFi is now live around the town centres in Belconnen, Dickson, Kingston, Manuka, Weston Creek, Woden and Tuggeranong. In the CBD it is live in Civic East – from Garema Place to the Convention Centre, round to Gorman House and up to Girrahween Street in Braddon, and Civic West – Northbourne Avenue to Barry Drive across to the ANU and around to New Acton. It is also available at the Australian Botanic Gardens. To see where CBRfree is currently available please see our map of live CBRfree access points.
The full installation of CBRfree around the Gungahlin town centre has been delayed by construction work for the light rail network. CBRfree will be fully available in Gungahlin once the light rail network site works in Gungahlin have been completed.
CBRfree is also available via 129 indoor WiFi hotspots installed at many business and community locations, including at Canberra Theatre, Belconnen Arts Centre, EPIC, Tuggeranong Basketball Stadium and the Criterion Cycling Stadium at Stromlo Forest Park.
Additionally, five ACTION buses have been fitted with WiFi equipment, and a trial of the service is being conducted to generate performance, usage and cost data. This data will be used to assess the business case for further investment.
The CBRfree WiFi network, being built in partnership with iiNet, is one of Australia's largest free outdoor public WiFi networks. With 382 operating Access Points it is similar in size to the AdelaideFree WiFi network that Internode/iiNet has built in Adelaide CBD and North Adelaide, and VicFreeWiF built by TPG in the Melbourne CBD.
CBRfree has also been made operational at major events through a mobile platform that can be set in any area where iiNet has access to fibre connectivity. CBRfree operated again at Floriade using ten mobile WiFi base stations, where over 5,000 visitors undertook 27,000 sessions. It was also available at the 2016 Summernats car festival and the 2016 Kanga Cup at Southwell Park. CBRfree increases the social media coverage of events by encouraging people to share their experience with family and friends online. Access to CBRfree at events also heightens event goers' experiences by enabling access to event apps, such as the Floriade 2016 app.
Do you know how easy it is to connect to CBRfree? When you are in range, CBRfree WiFi will appear on the list of WiFi Networks under settings on your device. Simply accept the terms and conditions to connect to the network. Businesses and community centres interested in having CBRfree installed should contact iiNet. Installation is dependent on suitable, powered locations to mount the WiFi antennas and proximity to iiNet broadband infrastructure.
FAQs on CBRfree data handling and security
What data is collected by the CBRfree WiFi network?
The only data collected is how many users connect and where, along with very basic level application monitoring to find out how much of our overall traffic is HTTP, Facebook, Audio etc. No tracking is performed, we do not track where customers navigate to online, either on mass or individually. iiNet also anonymizes all data and do not record or use user MAC Addresses.
Only data pertaining to user counts and general usage is held and passed on to the ACT Government. Data pertaining to user counts is recorded via weekly and monthly reporting. In terms of how data is collected, iiNet has a reporting service that records how many users are connected to each access point at regular intervals, and its management software keeps basic track of how much data (in megabytes) matches a particular protocol – be it normal Web Traffic, Video Streaming or Audio Streaming etc.
iiNet records how many users are connected to a particular Access Point at time intervals to gauge network effectiveness and very basic protocol monitoring to understand how our users use the network. iiNet is a Telecommunications Provider, and it operates in a strict regulatory environment when it comes to gathering and sharing user data. Unlike some "free" networks that require a username (usually an email address) and a password which are commonly on sold content – CBR free does not require this, ensuring it is truly free.
Is any individually identifying data collected? How is privacy protected?
No, individualized data is not collected, and where the possibility exists for personalized data to be captured, it is either disregarded, anonymized or deleted. iiNet does not record data from users of CBRfree, its only counts the number of collected clients and basic level protocol monitoring to gauge how users utilize the network. We do have ability to record analytics which detects beacons from both connected and unconnected devices, which again is ONLY used for counting clients and recording migration from one area to another, but data is completely anonymized and no personlised tracking or monitoring is available. MAC Addresses are used to record acceptance of the Splash Page, which allows iiNet to increase the time between how often the Splash Page presents. The MAC Addresses are stored within an encrypted database that is not used for anything other than recording acceptance of the Splash Page, meaning you only need to accept weekly, and the enforcement of quota limits.
Privacy is protected through the total anonymisation of data, iiNet is a Telecommunications Provider, the privacy and security of CBRfree users is treated the same as other iiNet customers.
Is any data generated by CBRfree WiFi used for commercial purpose? What is the CBRfree WiFi network used for other than free public internet? Who are the users other than the general public?
There is no commercial aspect or handover of information with CBRfree outside of reporting on numbers of users. CBRfree is used solely for the delivery of free Public WiFi, but the infrastructure that it resides on, our Access Points, are capable of supplying multiple networks and purposes, for example the provision of a network to support the Smart Parking trial in Manuka.
A trial of using CBRfree network infrastructure to transmit CCTV camera data is planned. The camera data will not be transmitted over WiFi but will share the power and optic fibre infrastructure of CBRfree. The trial will examine the security requirements of this application.
iiNet also provides a dedicated network to iiNet customers that allows them to use the Wireless network outside of the daily 250mb usage limit, with their usage metered against their home data quota. How secure is CBRfree?
WiFi networks are intrinsically less secure than fibre or wired networks. Any use of the internet via CBRfree or elsewhere exposes users to some risks which can be lessened, but not eliminated through the use of security software and user training. Users of CBRfree are cautioned about the risk via the Splash page.
Within this context, the contract with iiNet contains a number of conditions to protect the security of users of CBRfree to a high standard for a free community service; CBRfree is not designed to be a business grade service. The Cisco Prime™ Infrastructure which monitors and manages CBRfree's CISCO Wireless network, provides a high level of network security, helping to ensure that CBRfree users' data remains private and secure and that the network is protected from unauthorized access.
Since its inception and continued rollout over the last three years, CBRfree has remained free of security and denial of service attacks.
CBRfree roll-out as at May 2017
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Circle -outdoor Wireless Access Point
Diamond -indoor Wireless Access Point
Green - fibered WAP
Blue - meshed WAP