Wifi initiative divides town
Reaction to the South Waikato District Council’s plan to offer free wifi in Tokoroa’s central business district has been mixed.
The council announced the plan last month.
While many could see the benefits it could bring in terms of attracting more people to stop and shop. others were concerned it could attract unsavory behaviour.
Carol Ewen, from women’s clothing and computer service business Absolutely Fabulous, said the main issue she saw was that most businesses already had Wi-fi.
‘‘There are also open WI-FI networks already, the library has it, Mcdonald’s has it, so I don’t see the point,’’ she said.
The manager of a Mannering St business, who didn’t want to be identified, said she had concerns about vandals.
‘‘Is it going to mean people converge and just sit there? It won’t look good, especially if they are trying to improve the look of Leith Pl,’’ she said.
Baremjid Sings, who owns Rice and Spice Restaurant in Rosebery St, was all for it.
‘‘It will be very good and I think it will increase our customers a little bit too,’’ he said.
Waikato Bedding Limited’s Joyce Kani agreed.
‘‘It would be silly to say it’s not good. You will be able to get on there and have instant contact which will make it easier for people to find businesses,’’ she said.
Shop assistant Sue Mills said if it could help attract more people into Tokoroa she supported it.
‘‘Having a big sign saying free Wi-fi in the town centre is going to make a huge difference, especially to young ones,’’ she said.
Mills said since the Cambridge and Taupo bypasses opened more people were stopping and she believed having free Wi-fi would encourage more.
South Waikato District Council deputy chief executive Ben Smit said people with concerns over vandalism needed to remember it is going hand in hand with the installation of the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Network.
‘‘CCTV video is a known deterrent to unsavoury activity and should vandalism occur video feeds will capture it,’’ he said.
‘‘Results from others towns that have moved from Wi-fi hotspots to town-wide Wi-fi show because there were more people out using Wi-fi at odd hours, there is actually a reduction in vandalism.’’
Free public wifi will soon be available in Tokoroa’s central business district but not all are happy with the move.