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We have negotiated a brilliant deal with Inspire Net to provide limited free wireless services in our four main towns for a twelve month trial period. The objective is to have it in place prior to the rugby world cup.
It means that we remain at the front of the pack for providing innovative services and will see the coverage increase in size and make it easy for locals and tourists to enjoy our town centres.
We will join Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch amongst some locations, to provide this service. The inclusion of hotspots in the Tararua was a condition of the contract Council had with the Inspire Net inter-town fibre project so it is great to make this relevant to more people.
The cost of $6,000 is to be funded from the Economic Development budget. We will be able to offset some of this cost by selling advertising space to local businesses – every time someone connects to the service, they will see the advertisers name and details.
How it works is that many electronic devices now sense hotspots within a limited range of less than 100m from the node/transmitter. Currently all our service centres or libraries have nodes. Inspire Net is now planning to extend the number of these nodes at no extra cost.
Connection to date has been restricted by purchase of a café net card that grants access. By September, we expect that people will be able to download or send up to 100 megabytes of data per month free of charge. People requiring more can still pay to get more bandwidth, and Inspire is expecting that this will be a popular option in time with the proliferation of handheld palm devices such as the iPad.
Any retailers that currently provide chargeable hotspot services disadvantaged by our action can be offered free advertising in their hotspot area, though they often offer expanded niche services – Blockbuster is the only one potentially conflicted in Dannevirke.
Inspire Net believe that it will generate such traction that it may require no subsidy after the trial period should we choose to continue.
This is a separate service to the wireless services already currently offered across the Tararua by Inspire Net for fast broadband to homes and businesses.