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Mayoral aspirants talk up benefits of a connected Capital

Jul 6th, 2010 | By | Category: Featured Article, Front Page Layout, News

CONNECT ME: Internet access is a city election issue.

CONNECT ME: Internet access is a city election issue.

TWO WELLINGTONIANS hoping to be named mayor on Saturday are making much of their internet policies for the Capital.

Incumbent mayor Kerry Prendergast, arguing for Wellington to be the next city to receive a faster broadband package from the Government, has the more favourable solution, according to a local internet service provider manager.

“If you could have faster broadband more freely available you’re likely to get a lot more residential people and businesses making use of that additional speed,” says Actrix operation manager Peter Cranston.

He likes the idea Ms Prendergast’s rival Jack Yan is promoting – to make free Wi-Fi available for the public to use around central Wellington.

But Mr Cranston says wireless is something “a large number of people are not going to make use of”.

But he thinks it should be trialled for a year.

“It’d probably be a shame if it didn’t go ahead,” he says. “I think at minimum it would be a good experiment to run for a year and whether or not it continues after that depends on the success of the project.”

arenaPRENDERGAST

KERRY PRENDERGAST

Ms Prendergast says Wellington has the most wired central business district in the southern hemisphere and it is essential that faster broadband is made available to the community.

“At the moment it is in the [central business district] and there are individual parts of the city quite worldwide – like the film industry – [which] pay to have their own ultra-fast broadband put out to Miramar and some of the schools are connected.

“I want to see it extended, as the Government asked, to every home.”

Mr Yan is advocating free Wi-Fi and believes it would open a number of opportunities for Wellington businesses and residents.

He says Wi-Fi would indicate the city is developing and “signal Wellington is open for business”.

jack yan

JACK YAN

Mr Yan thinks the Wi-Fi network could develop a project to strengthen learning at primary and secondary schools around Wellington.

“I see it as a great educational tool. It would be wonderful for education especially if you can extend free Wi-Fi to the neighbourhoods that need it the most.

“Then they can research and start bridging the divide, so really it’s a start of something much, much bigger.”

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