City of Newcastle: Award-winning Smart City and Australia’s largest smart pole network

Innovative design and deployment delivers free public wifi and smart network of sensors and integrated technologies to collect real-time data.

The City of Newcastle is the driving force creating a city-wide ecosystem for innovation and sustainability. Its Smart City Initiative is building a diverse and resilient green economy and a thriving hub for community, investment, work and tourism. The initiative has already attracted a number of smart city awards, most recently the Smart Cities Awards 2019: Smart City of the Year – Metropolitan

The cultural and economic capital of the Hunter and Australia’s largest regional economy, Newcastle is one of our largest non-capital urban centres. Home to over 164,000 people, it is also a major port city with an international profile and 4.1 million visitors each year.

Council’s Smart City Initiative is a roadmap for an ambitious regional revitalisation to establish Newcastle as an internationally-recognised centre for technology innovation. It leverages digital transformation to improve liveability, sustainability and economic diversity, developing local innovation and attracting talent and investment. Central to the Initiative is a connected network of smart poles enabling free public Wi-Fi.

“Three years ago, not many people knew what a smart pole was. Now, we have delivered Australia’s largest smart pole
deployment, and they are embedded in the urban standard for Newcastle.”

Nathaniel Bavinton

Smart City Coordinator, City of Newcastle

Having won funding from the Federal and State Governments, the City of Newcastle formed a Smart City Team to realise its bold vision. It engaged longstanding strategic technology partners CSA and Countrytell to help develop the concept, and design and deploy Wi-Fi enabled smart poles using Aruba technology.

“Essential to the civic amenity of modern cities is free Wi-Fi,” said Nathaniel Bavinton – Smart City Coordinator City at the City of Newcastle. “However the way we chose to deliver it was fairly advanced and presented an intriguing set of challenges. We definitely did not want the usual patchwork installation of access points attached to existing structures. It was very important for us that the
technology powering our smart city did not create visual pollution. The expertise of our partners was invaluable in enabling us to overcome the hurdles of the project.”

A network of 180 smart poles was rolled out across Newcastle’s central business district, and CSA and Countrytell identified Aruba mobile networking and Wi-Fi components that could be fully integrated inside the poles. The poles will also house smart technology and sensors, connected through Council-owned fibre and conduit networks.

Watch the go-live announcement

The local news outlet in Newcastle, NBN News, captured the go-live in October 2019.

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