Recent reports that Wellington will have free public wi-fi along the waterfront during the 2011 Rugby World Cup have been followed up in Auckland with proposals for… well, public wi-fi that you have to pay for:
The proposal would achieve coverage in 732 sites in 62 locations compared to the 150 nodes currently in place.
Current zones covered are Viaduct Basin, Westhaven, Aotea Square, Karangahape Road, Ponsonby Road, Parnell Rise, Newmarket, Remuera Road and Albert Park. Services are also delivered in cafes and restaurants within these zones.
The plan calls for a $3 per hour cost, up to 60 megabytes, a $6.50 per day for 160 megabytes or a weekly $30 per week for 1.2 gigabytes.
A central city service in Auckland, set up in time for the Cup tourist trade, would help to avoid New Zealand’s main international hub being reported as technologically backward, much as South African systems were criticised during the recent football World Cup when travellers first encountered the antiquated South African telecommunications network with its huge roaming data charges.
Naturally, in the locked-up world of telecommunications in New Zealand we have to take whatever we can get, but I’d still like to think that the forward-thinking proposals being implemented in Wellington might be matched with a similar sense of vision in Auckland. But then public services have never been Auckland’s strong point.
I have an alternative proposal for net-hungry travellers visiting Auckland in 2011 and on the lookout for free wi-fi. And it’s one that the Council should perhaps be promoting more vigorously, given that they already provide free wi-fi across Auckland City, but most people don’t know about it. Visitors should step into one of the city’s many libraries and avail themselves of the excellent free wi-fi, which is currently capped at 100mb per day. They might even read a book while they’re at it.
Alternatively, and this may be a step too far for most data-hungry travellers, they could simply opt to spend their time on holiday watching rugby and seeing the sights rather than surfing the net. Heresy, I know.