Newcastle City Council has engaged National Narrowband Network Co (NNNCo) to install a city-wide LoRaWAN network to provide connectivity for IoT devices for a wide range of smart city services and applications including smart parking, lighting, transport and waste management capabilities.

The move follows the council unveiling its smart city strategy in August 2017. It is part of the broader Newcastle 2030 Community Strategic Plan that aims to create a smart, liveable and sustainable city.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the new digital infrastructure would confirm Newcastle as a smart city leader in Australia. “By investing in this infrastructure, we will provide a platform for community groups, education and research providers, industry, businesses and entrepreneurs to develop their own smart applications and ideas,” he said.

“Our smart city strategy is supporting a city-wide revitalisation and regional transformation by encouraging innovation and creativity across all sectors to promote economic growth and diversity.”

The NSW Government has contributed $4.98 million to the cost of the project under a commitment to funding infrastructure projects that stimulate growth and create investment opportunities for the Hunter.

The council's smart city coordinator Nathaniel Bavinton said NNNCo had been chosen to install the LoRaWAN based on a track record of deploying carrier-grade networks within infrastructure.

“A smart city needs a carrier-grade network that, as well as supporting community groups, is designed from the beginning for business-case driven IoT solutions that add value to the city and create a sustainable business model,” he said.

“NNNCo has proven its ability to deliver through successful LoRaWAN deployments in Australia and we look forward to a close partnership with them.”

NNNCo founder and CEO Rob Zagarella said Newcastle's network would inform smart city development across Australia.

“Working with Newcastle will enable us to guide other cities to transform their services and infrastructure through carrier-grade LoRaWAN IoT networks and enable these networks to grow across the country.”

Zagarella said NNNCo is already providing LoRaWAN networks for a number of organisations in the energy, water and agriculture sectors.

“As we expand these networks, we will realise our vision for a national narrowband network that will support countless smart applications for Australia into the future.”