Free Wi-Fi – every city should have it, so why hasn’t Auckland got it? It’s almost 2011 and we’re still stuck in a deep rut where one must purchase a hot beverage in order to reap the benefits of what should be free in the first place.
Five years ago in a land far, far away – that is of the ‘free’, America – Matt Lake asked a similar question in his article, should cities offer free Wi-Fi?.
Lake asked whether “cities should offer wireless broadband to their citizens,” and I instantly said yes. But I also believe that free wireless broadband in major cities of New Zealand should not be limited to its citizens, but to any users of this incredibly fast service.
Lake’s article also makes another valid point by stating that free Wi-Fi is a “great way for cities to market themselves and attract businesses and tourists.” And its now the end of 2010 in Auckland, and I have yet to see such an attractive service.
If I was Auckland City Council I would have given Libbie Lee free Wi-Fi access last year when she was desperate to e-mail her assignment to meet a deadline. But no, due to the bus arriving twenty-minutes late, she wasn’t able to get home on time to submit her essay. That’s when free Wi-Fi would have acted as her personal Superman.
How Stuff Works informed me that “wireless networks are easy to set up and inexpensive.” So why hasn’t the new ‘Super’ Council of Auckland City thought about providing free internet to its passer-bys and taxpayers?
A flourished and booming city like Auckland would be a lot prettier if there was free access, even for 5 minutes, for one to quickly check important e-mails, update their Facebook and Twitter statuses, upload exciting photos of on-the-spot events, online banking, check updated breaking news, and the list goes on. There are so many more reasons to justify why there is a need for free wireless broadband within the CBD.
I really don’t see the hardship behind this. If there is free parking ranging from 5 – 60 minutes, then why isn’t there a similar system set-up for Wi-Fi? I spoke with Auckland Council, simply asking them why there is no such service offering you and I, him and her, and all of them.
And her response to my questioning to speak with someone regarding Wi-Fi was, “what was that word again, dear?”
The kind lady didn’t know what I was asking about, so I had to repeat ‘Wi-Fi’ several times. I was put on hold for four minutes until she returned with a whole bunch of information regarding how to PURCHASE the Wi-Fi available to us.
So, I requested to speak with someone who could inform me on why there is no FREE Wi-Fi. The kind lady’s only option was to e-mail the ‘Broadband Team’ – I am yet to hear back from anyone (a week later and I am still waiting).
What triggered me to write this article was when I sat in Esquires waiting to meet a friend. While I waited, I decided to use the “free” Wi-Fi that Esquires provides its customers via ‘Tomizone’. In order to utilise this “free” service, a customer must purchase food or beverage – so technically, there is no such thing as a free Wi-Fi service. Excited to check my Facebook, the net was down. ‘What a waste of an unwanted latte’, I thought.
On the Auckland Council website regarding Wi-Fi in the city, it states that their approach was to “work with the private sector to facilitate the implementation of fast affordable Wi-Fi services to the CBD and fringe.” So I thought about this very hard for a split second. Why not remove the private sectors and work with the government, local or national, and implement a FREE service to all.
FREE Wi-Fi in Auckland CBD – attractive or ugly? We all have a reason to want and/or need it, so should we demand it? Yes! Because we can’t keep buying unwanted and unnecessary lattes. Or even worse, to those who are super naughty, they can’t continue to steal unsecured Wi-Fi.
What are your thoughts?