Auckland needs to re-jig wi-fi plans: CallPlus

Telco releases tender submission to media

CallPlus has criticised Auckland City’s plan to build a w-fi network in central Auckland, saying it doesn’t go far enough.

In an unusual move, the telco has released a media statement announcing that it has responded to the Auckland City Council’s RFI (request for information) seeking bids from prospective providers of the network.

(Generally, vendors who submit bids in response to RFIs and RFPs don’t comment on their bids until the process is finished).

CallPlus has released the first two pages of its response to the RFI to the media. The executive summary of CallPlus’s response quotes CallPlus executive chairman Malcolm Dick as saying “as an experienced business person in telecommunications services, I can see that the concept proposed — while well-intentioned — will not come close to providing a world-class wi-fi network.”

Dick then goes on to propose “a different structure that is a donation of infrastructure by CallPlus, and a donation of establishment costs by Auckland City”.

He details the plan and concludes by saying “my concern with Auckland City continuing down their indicated path, is that they are unlikely to obtain a contractual commitment from anyone to roll out a 1,000-strong access point network within a given timeframe.”

Details of Auckland City’s current wi-fi vision can be found on the council’s website.

Computerworld asked the Auckland City Council to comment, both on the CallPlus' proposal and the fact that CallPlus released part of its RFI submission to the media while the RFP process was still in progress, but the council declined to comment.

CallPlus' Dick told Computerworld "My concern was that our response might be rejected out of hand as it did not comply with the RFI, and Auckland would be stuck with a very poor solution long term for what will soon be acknowledged as an essential

piece of infrastructure at major cities around the world.

"My hope was that by publishing it, some public debate over the merits of

Auckland stepping up to the mark would occur.

"I would hope that some of the competing respondents will now also

challenge our proposal by offering service and coverage guarantees or a

similar offer to ours.

"I would also hope that Auckland City will wake up to the need for some

serious involvement in establishing this network, and perhaps even go

further by requesting pricing to supply a free service, as they have

done in Singapore."

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