Jack Yan for Mayor 2010
Overseas Terminal
Free wifi for Wellington
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It’s all very well my saying that free wireless internet (wifi) is important to Wellington, but specifically, how do we go about it?
   For starters, the technology’s already there. Anyone walking around Wellington central with a mobile device has probably come across a signal.
   Here’s what I want to find a way to do for all of us in Wellington.
   We start with trials on city property, such as the library and Civic Square.
   Secondly, there’s going to be a bandwidth cap, which I’m sure most of you can understand.
   Thirdly, it’ll be paid for by advertising—on the log-in screen.
   As to privacy issues, I think anyone who knows the technology around this will argue that it’s no better or worse than the broadband that many of you have at home already.

Why do it?
It’s a no-brainer. It encourages more businesses to come to Wellington.
   Which means more jobs.
   And that means there’ll be more people paying rates—so on my watch, we can keep a check on the rates’ increases.
   It’s going to be great in terms of growing the city and bring revenue in.
It also cements Wellington as the high-tech capital that many mayors and councils have said they want it to be—but have not done enough to realize it.
   And with Dunedin already beginning its trials, we’re going to be playing catch-up mode should I be elected. The difference is that at least I am a convert and have a proven record in tech and new ventures—so I’ll drive this in a big way.
   From my point-of-view, it’s either electing someone who’ll only give this lip service, or someone who gets it, and has a track record of understanding the benefits of the internet.

Balancing the budget
The city might even profit on free wifi by selling space on the log-in screen. And if the city makes money, we lower our deficit—and we won’t place as big a demand on your rates.

Less embarrassing
We keep encouraging tourists here and yet we can’t give them one of the most basic necessities of the 21st century. When they come here during the 2011 Rugby World Cup, free wifi will help drive visitors to Wellington businesses, who’ll feature on the service.

Don’t the ISPs and telecom companies lose?
Not really. Actually, they stand to gain extra customers because of the data cap we’ll have on the city service. You can do some basic stuff with the city service, but if you want to download big files, then you’ll need to go with an ISP.
   Even the hotels won’t lose. They charge pretty exorbitant rates for the internet and get a lot of profit—but free wifi in the city might encourage additional visitors to Wellington, along with taking away a reason to not return, so it balances out.


 

 

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Jack’s to-do list
Apart from providing you with even more info, I’ll be chatting this year to other cities that have implemented their systems successfully. I aim to have a programme that we can put into place rapidly after election day on October 9, 2010.

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