NZ: Free Wi-Fi wireless Internet now available in Wellington CBD

By John Walton, September 8 2011

Travellers to the New Zealand capital have free wi-fi available across the centre of Wellington from this week, with the cbdfree network stretching across almost the entire area where business travellers are most likely to be working and staying.

It's great news for travellers who need to get online and don't want to sort out a local SIM -- although we recently narrowed down the Kiwi networks to find the best NZ SIM card for your iPhone, iPad, Android device, Blackberry or 3G pocket wifi device.

Vodafone Australia users also get relatively less expensive 25c/MB data when roaming in New Zealand -- but only if they set it up beforehand.

But Wellington's forward-thinking mayor and -- fair play to them -- wifi sponsors Kiwibank want to make sure that business travellers don't need to bother with SIM cards to stay connected.

"The way people communicate, do business or simply keep in touch with the world gets a huge boost with free wifi," says Wellington's mayor, Celia Wade-Brown. "The advantages for business are significant. People can access important information from almost anywhere in the central business district"

Wellington's relatively small size means that most of the city's CBD is covered, as Mayor Wade-Brown explains.

"Our compact central business district means free wireless is far more manageable to install than in most cities. We’ve got a huge number of laptop and smartphone owners in this smart city of ours, and we see this as a small step towards enhancing our digital and communications reputation."

Make sure that you're connecting to the cbdfree network -- and not to those odd "Free Public WiFi" hotspots that we exposed recently.

Wellington Airport also has free (and, every time we've been through, fast) wifi for all passengers, with some business travellers also getting access via airline lounges too.

Australian Business Traveller reader Samuel Pepys sent the speed test result pictured right, showing 730Kbit/s downstream speed and 2.47Mbit/s upstream on the free Wellington Wi-Fi.

Of course, this is just one test, in one location -- but it shows that the free Wellington Wi-Fi certainly has the potential to be fast enough to get work done on.

John Walton
John Walton

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.


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