Mullumbimby: the new Silicon Valley?
A PLAN backed by the local chamber of commerce to establish "the biggest little Silicon Valley in Australia" in Mullumbimby is gathering pace.
In what is believed would be a first for a regional centre, it is proposed that a free wi-fi network be set up in the town to be rolled out starting with the central hub bordered by Burringbar, Stuart and Dalley Sts.
Wi-fi is an increasingly popular technology that allows electronic devices like laptops and iPads to exchange data wirelessly using radio waves over a computer network.
The proposal is being spearheaded by the secretary of the local chamber of commerce Obi McDonald-Saint who is also the owner of the town's only Apple Mac store, Mullum Mac.
Mr McDonald-Saint said there was a lot of enthusiasm for the project among business and community groups.
He said free wi-fi had the potential to revolutionise the way the town's 200 businesses operated and interacted with customers in ways that could not yet be fully imagined as the technology's applications were still evolving.
"It really is about enhancing the business district of Mullumbimby and getting more people into the centre of town," Mr McDonald-Saint said.
It is estimated it would take $10,000 a year to run with the centre of town alone requiring about six hot-spots - or wi-fi dishes.
Mr McDonald-Saint said the platform could be financed by just 20 businesses paying $500 a year.
"If we can't get the funding Mullum Mac will pay for it."
He was aiming to raise the topic with Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson's at today's shire business forum.