Auckland City Council is working with preferred supplier Kordia to get two wi-fi zones operational which will act as pilots for a larger rollout later this year.
Karen Lyons, Auckland City Council group manager of economic development, says the city is working through contract terms and access models with Kordia to begin delivering services.
Lyons says the council is sticking with its original intention of facilitating the delivery of wireless broadband, rather than delivering it directly. Accordingly, the council is providing Kordia with access to buildings and facilities, and providing marketing assistance, to get the project under way.
She says a couple of sites have been identified for the pilot projects and confirms there will be a charge for access to the wi-fi service.
“We did think about providing it free to end-users, but then ratepayers would be subsidising those that use it.” However, some websites, such as council and city information sites, are likely to be freely available, she says.
Kordia’s strategy and market development manager, Raj Unnikrishnan, says the service will be delivered as hot zones rather than hot spots. The zones will cover a larger area, perhaps as large as a city block. The council project will focus on the city’s main streets and public spaces, he says.
Kordia will wholesale the service to retailers and other providers, says Unnikrishnan.
The broadband service will be built using New Zealand wi-fi technology from Auckland-based RoamAD.
The company has supplied equipment to municipal wi-fi projects around the world. These include projects in Bologna, Italy, and Osseo, Minnesota, among others.
The council announced it had chosen Kordia as preferred supplier in December.