Phone networks up their capacity

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 06:58 26/12/2012

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Telecom and Vodafone are boosting cellphone and internet connections at Marlborough tourism centres to meet the summer demand.

Telecom has installed more than 100 wi-fi hotspots and Vodafone has increased capacity and installed new cell sites to some of New Zealand's most popular holiday destinations.

The Telecom hotspots in Marlborough are:

101 High St, Picton

26 High St (Creek Pottery), Picton

70 Waikawa Rd, Picton (Top 10 Holiday Park)

Visitor Information Centre, Auckland St, Picton

London Quay, Picton, near waterfront

Momorangi Bay store, Queen Charlotte Dr

Havelock tea rooms, State Highway 6 and Neil St, Havelock.

Vodafone has increased cellphone capacity in Picton as well, and in Queen Charlotte Sound.

Telecom mobile product general manager Ed Hyde said the hotspot project was part of a New Zealand-wide trial.

"There's nothing like sharing your summer experience with loved ones even if you can't be together.

"All you need is a New Zealand mobile number, with any provider, to stay connected," Mr Hyde said.

"Whether it's searching for a nearby cafe, uploading a few holiday snaps to your Facebook page, or, in my case, checking work emails, Kiwis and visitors can get online for free without having to leave their deckchair. It's a bit of a treat from us to help Kiwis share their love of summer."

Vodafone chief network officer Tony Baird said with high demand expected in popular holiday hotspots, Vodafone has prepared its network ahead of the crowds to cope with an increasingly mobile workforce that wanted to keep an eye on business from the bach.

The 44 holiday hotspots where capacity has been improved include in Picton and Queen Charlotte Sound.

Mr Baird said the company monitored network performance year on year to balance the traffic where required over peak periods.

"Ahead of each year's holiday season, Vodafone boosts its network capabilities . . . Not everyone wants to race back to work in the new year, so we aim to boost capacity in the busiest holiday spots to ensure smartphone and mobile broadband users can still get access to their apps and information from the bach or camping ground."

FREE WI-FI IN PICTON

Free wi-fi internet access went live in Picton on Friday, covering parts of the foreshore and High St.

Only the first hour of use is free before users have to pay for access.

Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman said he was pleased to have the wi-fi running in time for the summer visitors' influx.

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Contractors Network Tasman Ltd and The Pacific.net had delivered the system in a tight timeframe, he said.

"I would like to thank them and the property owners who have allowed us to install the equipment on their sites."

To buy further internet time, users had to look for a wi-fi site called FreeSpot and follow the instructions, Mr Sowman said.

He hoped the free wi-fi would relieve some of the pressure on the free access through the Picton library.

The wi-fi system was on the same network as the crime-prevention CCTV system being operated by the police, he said.

The same system would be installed in Blenheim next year and credit would be transferable across the network.

- The Marlborough Express

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