Dunedin to get free central city WiFi?


The Dunedin City Council is considering funding free wireless internet zones  in the Octagon.

I mentioned in a post yesterday, Spain and France seem to be well ahead of New Zealand with the provision of WiFi but it’s businesses doing it, not councils.

In 2005 there were three internet cafes in Vejer de la Frontera and all were busy most of the time. Now there’s just one and it also sells and services computers and accessories and also does printing.

That’s because WiFi in hotels and cafes has lessened the demand for internet cafes. Not everyone travels with a laptop so there is still a need for cafes, but it’s not as great as it was.

Why not more WiFi?


Internect connection in Argentina was better and faster in 2003 than anything we could get at home at that time.

We’ve got broadband since then and although the rural connection (through Orcon) is much slower than we’d get in a city it’s an improvement on dial-up – fine for emails, net surfing and blogging but slower than desiarable for up or downloading lots of data.

But it doesn’t work on the laptop so when we’re on the road we use a Telecom mobile connection which operates at a similar speed to the home connection.

That’s pretty dismal comapred with many other places and last month’s visit to Argentina showed us their technology has overtaken ours again with the proliferation of free WiFi services which were available in most cafes, bars and hotels.

Bernard Hickey  found a similar level of service in the USA and Fairfacts Media notes free WiFi is offered by British pubs as a way to attract business.

We’re a long way from widespread availability of WiFi in New Zealand although the government has promised a boost to internet services as part of its investment in infrasturcture.

The wee Otago town of Lawrence isn’t waiting for the government though. The ODT reports  the locals are already setting up free wireless internet in the town centre.

More and more people, especially overseas visitors and business people, had laptops with them as they travelled, so it made sense to try to offer them free Internet access so they would stay longer in the town. . .

Quite – it’s good for travellers and it’s good for business and there’s no need to wait for the government to do it.

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