Visitors laud free wi-fi extended on to Caroline Bay
NATASHA THYNE AND ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Timaru's central city free public wi-fi internet service has been extended to Caroline Bay.
The joint Aoraki Development Business and Tourism (ADBT) and Vetta Technologies project is running now in time for major summer events at the Bay, and Vetta's chief executive Shaun Fisher is expecting heavy usage.
Wi-fi is now available from the corner of George and Stafford streets up to the Bay Hill and on the busiest parts of the Caroline Bay.
The time limit of 30 minutes free internet has been changed to unlimited but with a data cap of 100MB.
A group of people enjoying a picnic lunch at the bay yesterday said while the initiative was a great one, better advertising of the service was needed to let people know it was available.
Rachel Patterson, of Melbourne, said the service was "brilliant", once she managed to get it up and running from her smartphone.
"I think it will attract people to the area."
Rosemarie Patterson, of Dunedin, said the concept would come in useful, as other parts of the country have proven.
"It's wonderful having free wi-fi. We are from Dunedin - in the Octagon they have free wi-fi - you see lots of people sitting there on their iPads emailing home. It's fantastic."
She said Caroline Bay was a prime location for the service.
"It's in a relaxed outdoor setting - I think it's great."
ADBT and Vetta Technologies are also hoping the extended wi-fi area will boost the number of people signing up for the Gigatown competition.
Gigatown is a promotion led by fibre-optic provider Chorus which pits towns against one another for the chance of getting broadband speeds up to one gigabit per second. Points are gained through use of the internet.
ADBT chief executive Wendy Smith said big crowds at the new wi-fi sites will make a difference as people will be encouraged to sign up to the Gigatown competition on the spot.
"People can share their fantastic experience of Timaru's summer on their social media pages and help support Timaru's bid to be Gigatown at the same time."
Free public wi-fi will be at Caroline Bay permanently.
However the time limit may kick in when the Gigatown competition ends.
- The Timaru Herald