Auckland shoots for February Wi-Fi launch

AUCKLAND – Auckland City Council is hoping to have its city Wi-Fi service up and running by February after the completion of testing at two sites in this New Zealand city.

The project aims to deliver Wi-Fi services to open spaces in the city to service students, visitors and business people.

Jill Garing, the Auckland City Council’s broadband manager, says the council sees its role as facilitating the delivery of broadband in the city. She says the council does not believe it should either own or operate the service.

ACC issued an RFP for the project one-and-a-half years ago under a council programme called “CBD into the future”. Garing says the tender received a very strong response and the council subsequently decided to partner with service providerKordia Solutions.

A couple of pilots sites are now under way and being tested, but she was not prepared to disclose where these are at present.

Garing says the strategy is to deliver broadband to public spaces on open access principles, meaning other providers can deliver services and resell access to the network. Some of the network is pre-existing, but some has been built. In some areas a free service will provide “public good” access to certain Websites to provide council and other information. Otherwise the service will be charged.

“It’s definitely not a free model,” Garing says.

In February, Kordia’s strategy and market development manager, Raj Unnikrishnan, said the service would be delivered as hot zones rather than hot spots. The zones will cover a larger area, perhaps as large as a city block.