Wellington Waterfront's Free Wifi Switched On

31 January 2011

Visitors to the waterfront in New Zealand's capital will enjoy fast and free wireless internet access from today, thanks to a joint effort from Trade Me and Wellington City Council.

The free wifi network went live this morning, beaming from access points on The NZX Centre and Te Papa. It covers the area south from Frank Kitts Lagoon and along the waterfront side of Te Papa.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the initiative meant Wellington was the first city in New Zealand to have free waterfront wireless. "The coolest little capital is now the coolest connected little capital. It will be a wonderful experience for visitors and Wellingtonians to be able to surf the internet for free in the beautiful surroundings of our wonderful waterfront. With the Rugby World Cup and other big events looming in 2011, the timing couldn't be better."

Trade Me CEO Jon Macdonald said the project was initiated in September as a good thing to do. "Trade Me's an online business and we're a proudly Wellington company. It's nice to be able to give something back. We hope lots of visitors to the waterfront get online with their smartphones and iPads and make the most of the service."

WCC is covering the installation and electricity costs for the wifi access points, and Trade Me is picking up the tab for the wireless nodes, bandwidth and maintenance of the wifi network.

Mayor Wade-Brown hailed the new service as a great example of how businesses can engage with the city.  "We're used to getting bargains from Trade Me - but this might just be the biggest bargain of them all for Wellington. It also fits into the broader plans the Council has to introduce a wifi network covering a large part of the CBD."

As well as the efforts of the Council's team, Mr Macdonald also acknowledged several other organisations that had helped out along the way. "Whenever an idea like this is put on the table it takes a bunch of people to make it happen and Te Papa, Willis Bond, the body corporate at the NZX Centre, New Zealand Historic Places Trust and Wellington Waterfront have all been very helpful in recent months."

The initiative is purely gratis, and there are no commercial or revenue objectives for Trade Me. It is available to everyone with wifi capability on their phone, laptop or tablet within the coverage area.

For anyone technological out there, the coverage is being delivered via outdoor high performance, multi-radio 802.11n mesh access points.

For more information, head to the Trade Me free wifi landing page.