Decision on Wi-Fi removal postponed

A decision whether to shut down the Gore public Wi-Fi service in the retail area and to pay instead for public Wi-Fi service at Dolamore Park will be made another day.

Gore District Council assets and infrastructure committee members considered the proposal at its meeting last week and decided more information was needed before a decision could be made.

Councillors considered a report prepared by information technology manager Andrew McPherson.

In the report Mr McPherson said about five years ago in conjunction with the GoRetail group, the Council funded buying and installing 12 Wi-Fi repeaters which were mounted in the central business district.

An internet connection was provided by a local internet service provider and the council paid the monthly charge for the connection.

This month, PowerNet will be removing power poles in Main St between Medway St and Bowler Ave, which would include removing several of the repeaters.

It will take work from the provider to re-establishing the Wi-Fi network, at a cost to the council.

In February 2024, the provider installed a Wi-Fi station at Dolamore Park, to provide connectivity for a sports event, at no cost to the council. This used a radio connection, as there was little or no mobile phone reception at the camping ground.

The equipment has been left in place, pending agreement on future public Wi-Fi access.

If councillors agreed to shutting down the Wi-Fi service in the town in preference to providing Wi-Fi at Dolamore Park, there would be no extra cost apart from the existing monthly expenditure, the report said.

Cr Andy Fraser asked Cr Joe Stringer who had removed himself from the discussion due to a conflict of interest, whether the proposal was a good idea.

Cr Stringer said he did not know how many people used the Wi-Fi.

Council critical services general manager Jason Domigan said the matter might be better considered during the annual plan process.

"We need to understand the usage before we make a decision."

Cr Neville Phillips said the Wi-Fi system in the town was on a different system to the one associated with the Gore Public Library.

Cr Fraser said no-one he talked to used the public Wi-Fi.

Gore District mayor Ben Bell said he did not think there was enough information in the report to be able to make a decision.

"We should be able to know how many users use it each day."