Why fly when there is Wifi?
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.