Free wifi for Wellington

The Dom Post reports:

Wellington will have free access to high-speed wireless internet on the waterfront from December.

And the city council hopes to make free wi-fi a permanent fixture in the central business district in time for next year’s Rugby World Cup.

From December, anyone with an internet-capable smart phone, iPad or laptop computer will be able to connect free of charge between Queens Wharf and within range of a waterfront server in the NZX building.

The initiative is the brainchild of Trade Me and is being paid for by the online auction company, in association with the council.


Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast said moves were already under way to expand the free wi-fi initiative to the city centre – subject to costs associated with the project. If successful, Wellington would be among the world’s first cities to offer residents and visitors free downtown wi-fi access.

The council was calling for expressions of interest to provide the service permanently around the Golden Mile.

A council graphic shows the proposed coverage stretches from Westpac Stadium to the Embassy end of Courtenay Place.

Positively Wellington Tourism chief executive David said the initiative would make it easier for visitors to make the most of the city and tell others about it.

“Being able to access free wi-fi on the waterfront will mean our visitors can not only freely access information about where to go and what to do in the city, they can post photos of the picturesque harbour, public art and other attractions to their friends, families and digital networks throughout the world.”

I would not under-estimate how much extra tourism one could attract by promoting Wellington as a free wi-fi city. A huge number of travellers now with a laptop or 3G phone even.

The cost of wireless in is outrageous at $30 or so a day.

Cafenet (run by Citylink) used to be superb value. I recall in the 1990s how great it was to get 80 MB of data for just $20. Sadly Cafenet are still charging the same rice in 2010, despite the costs of bandwith being less than 1/10th what they were in the 1990s. They have gone from cheapest to most expensive.

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