City Wi-Fi network completed

Digital Community Trust chairman John Gallaher. Photo: Linda Robertson
Digital Community Trust chairman John Gallaher. Photo: Linda Robertson

A network of Gig-speed free Wi-Fi zones across Dunedin is complete, after the switch was flicked on the final site at Macandrew Bay.

The milestone was announced by Digital Community Trust chairman John Gallaher yesterday as he described the network as "a rare gem" for the city.

Residents and visitors alike could now access Gig-speed free public Wi-Fi at 15 sites across the city, from the botanic garden through the central city to the Esplanade at St Clair, Macandrew Bay and Port Chalmers.

Plans for the Gig-speed Wi-Fi hotspots were first announced by the Dunedin City Council in 2016, when it signed a $430,000 contract with Spark to roll out the network

The move came two years after Dunedin won the coveted Gigatown title following a national competition run by Chorus.

The plan for the network initially envisaged 12 Gig-enabled Wi-Fi hotspots across the city, in addition to the Octagon Wi-Fi launched in 2015, but two more sites had since been added.

The new service provided internet speeds up to 50 times faster than standard public Wi-Fi, and was already proving popular.

Spark data showed the network was already being used by 50,000 unique users a month, logging in for 900,000 sessions and consuming more than 5000 gigabytes of data.

The hotspots were seen as key anchor points in an expanded mesh of Wi-Fi networks which could one day cover the city, Enterprise Dunedin economic development programme manager Fraser Liggett said.

As well as the convenience the networks provided users, their presence also helped increase foot traffic, attracting and retaining customers in retail areas, he said.

The hotspots also supported other initiatives, including the University of Otago-led Eduroam platform, which allowed teachers and students secure network access when visiting an institution other than their own, he said.

That helped make the city more attractive for visiting academics, international students and businesses, he said.

"Completion of the hotspot network provides the city with access to quality free Wi-Fi speeds. We believe that this will be attractive to residents, businesses and visitors to the city who can access the internet and systems quickly and without cost."

GIGCITY hotspots

• Octagon 
• Dunedin Railway Station
• Dunedin City Library
• Mosgiel Library and playground
 Toitu/Chinese Garden
 Port Chalmers Library
 Dunedin Botanic Garden
 Esplanade at St Clair
 South Dunedin pop-up hub
 Lorne St, South Dunedin
 Wall Street mall
 The Exchange
 Otago Museum Reserve
 Dunedin Public Art Gallery
 Macandrew Bay

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