Why fly when there is Wifi?

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

En­tic­ing trav­ellers into Toko­roa has been a strug­gle for years but a new draw­card could change that.

Peo­ple vis­it­ing the South Waikato town’s cen­tral busi­ness district (CBD) will soon have ac­cess to free wifi.

The aim is to make it eas­ier for peo­ple to find out what’s on of­fer in the district while also pro­vid­ing more op­por­tu­ni­ties to use on­line ser­vices, seek em­ploy­ment, ac­cess ed­u­ca­tional re­sources, en­ter­tain­ment, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

The move fol­lows the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Wide Area Net­work (WAN) op­tions for Toko­roa’s $60,000 CBD Closed Cir­cuit Tele­vi­sion (CCTV) Net­work, which is an ini­tia­tive of the South Waikato Safer Com­mu­nity Coun­cil, and the Leith Pl re­de­vel­op­ment.

Dur­ing the es­tab­lish­ment of the CCTV net­work, which is see­ing $30,000 raised via do­na­tions through the Safer Com­mu­nity Coun­cil and $30,000 from the South Waikato District Coun­cil, it be­came ap­par­ent that fi­bre op­tic in­ter­net con­nec­tions could be used for more than just cam­eras.

Deputy chief ex­ec­u­tive Ben Smit said a sim­i­lar pro­gramme has been run in Gore which has a sim­i­lar sized pop­u­la­tion to Toko­roa and a sig­nif­i­cant spike in tourism has been seen.

‘‘They said there has been a ma­jor im­pact in terms of the amount of tourism and peo­ple from there go­ing shop­ping to get free wifi,’’ he said.

‘‘They rave about the amount of use they get. In the last 24 hours 950 de­vices were con­nected.’’

Ac­cess to the free wifi will be granted af­ter users agree to set terms and con­di­tions which will in­clude a lim­ited amount of data col­lec­tion for an­a­lyt­i­cal pur­poses.

The coun­cil will also be able to charge for in­ter­net use af­ter a cer­tain amount of time or data has been con­sumed if a user wishes to con­tinue.

The ini­tia­tive was dis­cussed dur­ing the coun­cil’s Cor­po­rate and Reg­u­la­tory Com­mit­tee meet­ing on Thurs­day and it was clear the coun­cil­lors were ex­cited about the op­por­tu­ni­ties it could bring.

Smit said pro­mo­tion of the district will be a big part of the ser­vice which will be able to rec­om­mend lo­cal web­sites to users.

The coun­cil an­tic­i­pates it will have the wifi avail­able within the next three to four months.

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