Wakatipu residents and visitors are connected to the
worldwide web as never before, the ongoing Wi-Fi trial
service by Telecom hailed a success, the Queenstown Events
Centre launching free internet access permanently last week
and the national ultrafast broadband roll-out reaching
central Queenstown next month.
Telecom activated its free summer service from nine Wi-Fi hot
spots in Queenstown, one in Frankton, one in Arrowtown, one
in Lake Hawea and three in Wanaka, among other popular New
Zealand holiday destinations last month, to see if there is
an appetite for public Wi-Fi and to consider how it might be
hosted and supported more consistently across the country.
Head of Telecom Labs Philip Ivanier said last week Queenstown
was the only ''hot spot'' in the country where virtually all
of the town centre was made Wi-Fi-active.
''More than 3000 people are logging on to the regional
service each day since its mid-December launch,'' Mr Ivanier
''That's roughly 10% of the whole user population across the
country, across more than 43 locations New Zealand-wide.
''Queenstown Wi-Fi is the most popular service in the region,
with more than 250 users per day, although users in Wanaka,
Lake Hawea and Arrowtown are also accessing the service
Early results indicated users were accessing the service for
more than just email and surfing the net. Some were using the
service to download content.
Queenstown was selected for the trial as it had a large
influx of ''tech-savvy tourists'' keeping connected
constantly and the compact town centre was well positioned to
maximise the use of the Telecom telephone boxes already in
place, which each had ''Free Wi-Fi'' signs, Mr Ivanier said.
''It's great that tourists can directly share their
extraordinary South Island experiences with friends and
family around the world,'' he said.
More than 17,000 people have registered to use the national
service, using more than 20,000 internet-enabled devices such
as tablets and smartphones to upload and download about 2.5Tb
More than 3000 people are using it around the country each
day and about 1000 new registrations are being received by
Telecom a day.
All users need to register is a New Zealand cellphone number
from any provider, not just Telecom, which is able to receive
an authentication code sent via text message.
Telecom will review the results of the trial when it ends in
Meanwhile, a permanent free internet service for the public
has been introduced at the Queenstown Events Centre thanks to
Lakes Leisure in partnership with HQWiFi. Access is available
throughout most indoor areas and users will receive 30
minutes of free internet access per 24 hours through the
HQWiFi network when using their own devices.
A further 30 minutes costs $3, 60 minutes $6, two hours $10,
or 24 hours $15 using a credit card online, the time being
able to be used at other HQWiFi hot spots.
HQWifi installed the infrastructure free of charge to provide
internet access during major events such as the travel trade
expo Trenz in 2012. Lakes Leisure decided to permanently
extend the service, events and venues manager J.
D. Marrable said last week.
''It's a great way to give our visitors a bit of added value
and people can now enjoy catching up on Facebook or surfing
the web for free while they wait for their next class to
start, have a coffee or collect their children from sport,''
Mr Marrable said.
Questions on how to access the service should be directed to
events centre receptionists, he said.
The Government's ultrafast broadband contractor Chorus
continues its roll-out of fibre connectivity in Queenstown,
the work having begun last winter.
More than 600 residents on Queenstown Hill should now be able
to call their internet service provider and get connected to
ultrafast broadband after four cabinets and fibre were
installed by Chorus.
Contractors will start work on Gorge Rd once the poor weather
Chorus said the central business district of Queenstown was
set for ultrafast broadband from mid to late February, to
avoid inconveniencing businesses and holiday-makers on
Waitangi Day (February 6).
Business operators will be informed about the roll-out by