Richmond Unlimited’s Kevin Gear and Marina Buonocore, who were on the Wi-Fi working committee, and Richmond councillor Judene Edgar have been involved in setting up free wireless internet access in the Richmond CBD. Photo: Phillip Rollo.

Free WiFi on its way

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Richmond will have free WiFi in its CBD within a month and it appears Nelson won’t be far behind, with mayor Aldo Miccio pledging to have it installed by the end of the year.
Richmond Unlimited, the promotions group of the town, says it has struck a deal to have free WiFi installed throughout Richmond’s central business district, allowing locals and tourists to hook into the network for free on their smart phones, tablets or laptops. The initiative is hoped to encourage tourists into the town and give businesses an opportunity to advertise to those using the network.
Setup costs will be paid for by Richmond Unlimited but it is hoped it will be self-sufficient within six months. There will be a one hour limit per user, per day.
In an unrelated announcement last Friday, Nelson mayor Aldo Miccio says free WiFi will be installed in Nelson’s CBD “by Christmas” and labelled it a “natural and desirable progression for the city’s economic growth”.
“With more and more people accessing the internet through smartphones and tablets, free WiFi is an integral initiative for Nelson with multiple benefits. It will increase the capabilities of local businesses, bring people into the CBD, and assert Nelson as a prominent business community.”
Richmond Unlimited committee member Steve Page says the group is “very, very pleased” to be a part of the move.
“It’s great to see Richmond Unlimited getting into quite positive steps to help build the business community. I think it’s a quick catch up to what the rest of the world is doing and we need to show that we are as good as any market leader in the world. With Kmart coming, the Warehouse coming, free parking and now free WiFi, it’s certainly making us one of the more progressive shopping centres in the South Island.”
The area where the free WiFi will be available will be Queen St and all of the major car parks. Businesses will be able to buy “drop downs” that will advertise quick messages, like a sale or coffee deals, says Steve.
TDC councillor Judene Edgar says “it’s great that Richmond Unlimited has picked up this initiative themselves”.
According to the Statistics New Zealand 2012 Internet Service Providers Survey, more than half of New Zealanders are now accessing the internet via a mobile phone.