Cruise ships Dawn Princess (front) and Pacific Dawn (rear)
in Port Chalmers. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
In an effort to lure people off the cruise ships and into
Port Chalmers, passengers will be offered free Wi-Fi in the
township when the cruise ship season starts next Sunday.
The Otago Polytechnic-led project is one of three pilot
programmes, part of its "sustainable community enterprise
project", which it intends will provide students with
learning opportunities while benefiting the community and
increasing the polytechnic's revenue.
The polytechnic has partnered Dunedin internet service
provider Unifone, business association Vision Port Chalmers
and Port Otago in setting up Wi-Fi access, which would be
offered free of charge to anyone - not just cruise ship
passengers - on the wharf and around the main street in time
for the arrival of Sea Princess next Sunday.
Otago Polytechnic information technology professor Samuel
Mann yesterday told the polytechnic's council the project
provided a great learning opportunity for its students, with
business students working on the business case for the
project and other students getting hands-on experience by
helping install the infrastructure.
The project also had clear benefits for the community and
would generate revenue for the polytechnic - with passengers
who stayed on board cruise ships charged to use the Wi-Fi,
Prof Mann said.
Half the money generated would go towards the polytechnic,
with the other half going towards a trust, which would invest
the money in Port Chalmers.
"It is win, win, win," he said.
Vision Port Chalmers member Peter Cole said he was confident
the offer of free Wi-Fi would result in more passengers
coming into the township.
"It's going to encourage people to get off the boat and they
are going to come and sit in the cafes and bars and they
might spend some money.
"It's going to be a real boost to Port Chalmers," Mr Cole
Prof Mann outlined two other pilot programmes at the meeting:
a plan to build a low-cost wind turbine on the roof of the
polytechnic's computing block and an initiative to derive
resources from electronic waste.
Polytechnic chief executive Phil Ker praised the overall
project, calling it "spot on".
After the meeting, Prof Mann said he hoped the pilot
programmes would be the start of a new polytechnic drive to
gain learning and revenue openings from its community