Enhanced wi-fi services are on their way to Auckland, offering more wireless coverage and faster access to the internet across the central city and its surrounding suburbs.
The expansion is due to start “immediately”, according to the Auckland Council, which has just entered a partnership with Australasia's largest wi-fi services provider Tomizone.
“With 85,000 visitors expected during Rugby World Cup and more than 200,000 expected from next year's cruise season alone, visitors to Auckland will be able to step off their plane or ship and immediately access information about Auckland,” says mayor Len Brown.
For locals, it means better, further-reaching internet access for portable devices, he says.
It won't, however, rival Wellington's free wi-fi. The council says it guarantees the service will be provided at a discount to benchmarked market prices. Free access to a number of public service websites, as well as those relating to RWC activities, tourism and transport services will be put in place.
Tomizone executive director Steve Simms says both residents and tourists will benefit.
"Many of our visitors will want to use their roaming account from providers such as Skype, iPass and Boingo which they can do on this network."
The wi-fi zone will expand into fringe suburbs such as Kingsland, the entire length of Queen Street, Britomart and Queens Wharf, lower Parnell, northern Ponsonby Road, Mt Eden Village and Onehunga. As well as this, the coverage will service key rugby training areas and selected transport hubs around Auckland.
The network is set to stay following the RWC, and the council says the coverage will continue to expand to other parts of Auckland, using the profits of the service to re-invest in more coverage.
"Auckland Council will retain control of the content, which gives it a flexible platform for the future," says Brown.