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Queenstown joins free Wi-Fi brigade

Posted: 6 June 2016 2:01 pm


1GB of data per day available for visitors.

Popular New Zealand holiday destination Queenstown has become the latest city to offer free Wi-Fi hotspots.

Four areas in the city's downtown district - The Village Green, Earnslaw Park, The Mall and Beach Street - now boast free internet access for locals and travellers alike.

While the scope of the project is currently limited to these precincts, more public downtown areas will be rolled out over time.

You can easily tap into a free connection using an email address or social media account login and receive 1GB of data per day - more than enough to find your way on Google Maps or peruse the web to discover the best local coffee or lunch spot.

The service, launched late last week, is a joint venture between local advocacy organisation Downtown QT and internet service provider HQ Wi-Fi.

The privately-funded endeavour was financed through advertising and didn't require assistance from Queenstown Lakes District Council.

While this is a great leap forward for Queenstown, other areas of New Zealand are still incredibly limited when it comes to free Wi-Fi access, according to Tourism New Zealand.

All of the country's Public Libraries have a free Wi-Fi service and some i-SITE visitor information centres offer connections but most cafes and restaurants require a purchase before allowing you to log on.

Local telco Spark offer free Wi-Fi hotspots around the country but you need to be a registered customer to access the daily 1GB of data. There is a free week-long trial if you're not a customer but then you'll have to pay $9.95 for each 30-day period.

In Australia free internet is also an under-serviced commodity. Late last year Local telecommunications network Telstra began offering free Wi-Fi data at over 300,000 Telstra Air hotspots across Australia for eligible Telstra mobile and broadband customers, but this generosity is set to expire on 30 September 2016.

In many countries across South East Asia, Europe and North America, free Wi-Fi access has come to be expected by travellers.

When travelling to Thailand, Malaysia or Indonesia you'll never struggle to find a free connection as most bars, restaurants, hotels, spas and even tailors provide unlimited, high-speed wireless for customers or passers-by.

In Europe and the US, visitors will find cafes, hotels and watering holes offer a cost-free connection for patrons, while there are often free Wi-Fi hotspots located in major city centres.

For Queenstown accommodation options this winter, be sure to check out our in-depth ski guide.

Picture: ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com

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