Australia’s Sigfox LPWAN network operator Thinxtra has implemented a program to enable local councils around Australia to discover the potential of IoT, and experiment with some applications.

It has launched a Smart Council Program under which it will provide Sigfox network coverage in a council’s area at no cost for 90 days.

Also, Thinxtra is partnering with a wide range of IoT service and technology companies all of which are providing free trials to councils of IoT systems that use the Sigfox network: ATF, Abibird, 37South, PiPIoT, BigMate, Watergroup, Ratsense, Smart Technology Solutions and OpenDataSoft.

Thinxtra says the project has generated wide interest from system integrators keen to provide Sigfox ready solutions to be implemented in the program. From an original eight solution providers it aims to have 100 by the end of 2018.

Thinxtra says that Sigfox coverage lays the foundation for councils to become better maintained, eco-friendly, safer and more innovative.

Suggested applications include monitoring access, roads, signage, parking, fire hydrants, water and air quality, street lighting and offering on-demand maintenance and garbage collection.

Also, Thinxtra says that providing a network for IoT will encourage innovative startups, that will in turn create more IoT solutions boosting employment and making the city more attractive.

In 2017 40 councils gave Thinxtra access to rooftops on council buildings for the installation of Sigfox base stations and Thinxtra says it plans to sign 60 more in 2018, surpassing its original target of 50 over two years.

Coffs Harbour was the first regional city in Australia to join the scheme. Thinxtra says the Sigfox network took less than a week to install, in conjunction with Schneider Electric.

The Thinxtra Smart Council Program is a finalist in the Best Municipal Project category at the 2018 Australian IoT Awards being held at the IoT Festival on 4 June in Melbourne.