'Bizarre!': Uni students' late night pool visits for wi-fi
WHEN the night is well along and the midnight hour has struck, they gather in their multitudes down by the lagoon in Springfield Central.
No, this is not a story about an Ipswich remake of the B-grade horror movie The Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Would you believe it, we are talking about students in their droves connecting to the free public wi-fi at the Orion Lagoon in the middle of the night.
Acting Mayor Paul Tully, also the council's Digital City spokesman, said the latest data revealed that on average 724 users a week were making use of the service at Orion Lagoon.
It is when that service is being accessed which has proved to be remarkable.
"What are called heat maps show the number of people connected to the wi-fi at any given time of the day," Cr Tully said.
"We had a situation recently where it was showing a lot of people on the wi-fi next to the pool at the lagoon at 1am and 2am, which is peculiar because you'd think around a pool you'd have hardly anyone in the middle of the night.
"Our security guy went there just to see what was happening and found it was students from USQ, only a five-minute walk away.
"Apparently their wi-fi was either regularly down or not as fast as the public wi-fi so they were sitting around the tables at the lagoon doing their studies and preparing their assignments."
The QT reported recently that residents in the Springfield area were going to McDonald's to use their wi-fi because the NBN service was inadequate.
Cr Tully said the continued use of the public wi-fi in the early hours at Orion Lagoon was okay with him.
"Absolutely, they are members of the public who are entitled to use it," he said.
"But it is just bizarre how free wi-fi was being used.
"It is probably the first time in Australia that students were congregating around a public swimming facility to do their studies. I think it is absolutely fantastic."
Cr Tully said free public wi-fi was available at Orion Lagoon, Ipswich Mall, Ipswich Art Gallery, Ipswich Civic Centre and around council's administration precincts.
He said the expansion of that network was a key initiative of council's Smart City Program.
Cr Tully said in coming months the network would be extended to include Robelle Domain at Springfield Central and Ipswich Motorsport Park at Willowbank.
"Extending the public wi-fi network is important because it helps enable community connectivity which is a core component of our Smart City Program," Cr Tully said.
"Accessing the network is easy as the same access code identification FREEWIFI_MYIPSWICH works across all precincts."
Students who use the wi-fi at the lagoon in the wee hours are invited to contact firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about the experience.