Orcon offering free internet!

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 17-Sep-2007 15:00

Last week saw the launch of the Kordia Metro WiFi service. At present coverage is only available in small parts of Whangarei, Auckland, Taupo, Hamilton, Napier, Wellington, Dunedin, Invercargill and Queenstown but Kordia are planning significant coverage areas around the country by 2010. The beauty of their WiFi service is that is supports up to 8 SSID's - meaning that the infrastructure can handle multiple operators who want to make their WiFi service available.

TomiZone, Orcon and Kordia themselves are all available on the platform with Orcon currently offering free access to the service.

I have my doubts about whether there is a future for the project however. With the harsh reality finally being accepted by many people that muni WiFi is a dead duck in the water the whole concept of city wide WiFi is interesting especially when mobile data over cellular networks offers far better coverage and none of the user authentication issues that still plague WiFi. Kordia seem to be adopting a business model that seems to be working succesfully in the UK where The Cloud are building infrastructure and then onselling access to whoever wants to provide a WiFi service. At the end of the day however Vodafone and Telecom only need to be smart about their data offerings and the whole business model can be thrown out the window..

Watch this space..

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Comment by chiefie, on 17-Sep-2007 15:49

Free Internet service = me able to play Nintendo DS on Nintendo WiFi Connection! YAY!

Shame, doesn't seem to include Christchurch in that short list though :-(

Comment by freitasm, on 17-Sep-2007 16:07

Mind you, RoamAD makes a stong point that this project is a "metro WiFi" implementation, not a "muni WiFi". The main difference being that muni WiFi is a council founded project while metro WiFi is a private enterprise, each targeting different user segments.

Comment by barnaclebarnes, on 17-Sep-2007 16:13

I'm on the fence regarding "City Wide" WiFi. I was down in Queenstown last week and being able to open your laptop and sign into the local WiFi service was great. $40 for 2GB of traffic on a casual basis was pretty good. We had 4 laptops in the house and we just shared the login details for the week. It beats having a permanent ADSL connection that only gets used every 3 months.

Comment by pkb, on 17-Sep-2007 16:20

I was in Parnell in Auckland on Friday and tried to use the Parnell Wireless network.  Not having any clue as to where the signal was coming from (the website said that access would be best outside in the street, but it was raining so couldn't give that a try), I sat in a cafe and tried to access the internet.   Unfortunately, the signal was so patchy that it took ages to log on and register, and once that had been done, the connection was pretty slow.  It's a great idea but some more direction as to where the signal is strongest would have been useful beforehand.    I do like the idea of free wireless though!

Comment by Mattnzl, on 17-Sep-2007 19:18

I like the idea of being able to buy xGB blocks of data to use when you need it. Imagine if you could do this with TNZ/VFNZ cellular data (they'd hate it of course - prefer to lock you into fixed monthly bills that you may or may not use).

Author's note by sbiddle, on 17-Sep-2007 21:38

The fact that Vodafone won't launch a prepaid data option is perfect proof of how they completely fail to understand the data market. I've been saying for years they should offer such a plan. Being able to add 1gb of prepaid data to a prepay phone (or even a on account plan) would be absolutely wicked idea for people who want casual data use.

The reality is we'll never see it with no many negative people inside Vodafone..:-(

Comment by rje, on 18-Sep-2007 01:35

It is quite easy to use once you get the hang of it. I got >3Mbps both up and down in Remuera on the Kordia metro WiFi network. It is also in parts of Ponsonby. They are targeting areas where people hang out, rather than following the USA model of blanket citywide (50 sq miles) coverage. Re pricing: I too like paying only for what I use. The speed is much faster that voda or tnz.

Author's note by sbiddle, on 18-Sep-2007 07:51

Mind you, RoamAD makes a stong point that this project is a "metro WiFi" implementation, not a "muni WiFi". The main difference being that muni WiFi is a council founded project while metro WiFi is a private enterprise, each targeting different user segments.

Who says muni WiFi has to be a council funded business? There are many muni WiFi networks set up by ISP's or 3rd parties that provide access to the public and resell the service to other ISP's. Muni WiFi doesn't necessarily mean free internet, to me it simply infers a city wide WiFi network which is exactly what Kordia plan.

I'm not anti large scale WiFi networks in any way - as an internet addict and WiFi user I'd love to see high speed internet everywhere. From a business point of view however I'm still sitting on the fence to see whether the business model can make money.

sbiddle's profile

Steve Biddle
New Zealand

I'm an engineer who loves building solutions to solve problems.

I also love sharing my views and analysis of the tech world on this blog, along with the odd story about aviation and the travel industry.

My interests and skillset include:

*VoIP (Voice over IP). I work with various brands of hardware and PBX's on a daily basis
  -Asterisk (incl PiaF, FreePBX, Elastix)

  -xDSL deployments

*Structured cabling
  -Home/office cabling
  -Phone & Data

*Computer networking
  -Mikrotik hardware
  -WAN/LAN solutions

*Wireless solutions
  -Motel/Hotel hotspot deployments
  -Outdoor wireless deployments, both small and large scale
  -Temporary wireless deployments
*CCTV solutions
  -Analogue and IP

I'm an #avgeek who loves to travel the world (preferably in seat 1A) and stay in nice hotels.

+My views do no represent my employer. I'm sure they'll be happy to give their own if you ask them.

You can contact me here or by email at stevenbiddle@gmail.com