I just saw a post on ComputerWorld.co.nz about Auckland now putting free wifi on the Link services. These services recently changed, moving from one “The Link” service to three services under the brand, including the free “City Link”.
This is finally something positive coming out of Auckland in terms of technology infrastructure. Last year, Hamilton and Wellington both announced free wifi being installed around their CBDs, with Hamilton being launched in December last year and Wellington being launched a week ago. At the time, the Auckland City Council and then mayor of Auckland, John Banks, took a very narrow-minded approach saying Auckland would not have free wifi. Of course, Auckland does have wifi that you can pay for, but that doesn’t work a lot of the time from what I’ve seen.
It is great to see Auckland finally having some vision in terms of technology, and I really congratulate the Auckland Council here. However, the next step is to open up the wifi around the CBD and make that free. You can always have a two-tiered system, where you can get free access at slower speeds or get full speed access and pay a cost. That way, there’s still an income coming in, but Aucklanders have the opportunity to get access to this service that should be offered everywhere. It may require an ISP to step up to the mark. Trade Me offered the free wifi in Wellington before the WCC took initiative. Right now in Dunedin, a company called Wicked Networks is offering a free connection in patches of Dunedin.