Stop skimping on WiFi, Alice

p2062halduellOKI will admit to an expectation of easy and nearly universal access to free Wi-Fi before starting this trip into Java. Previous trips to SE Asia had given me some idea of what to expect, but even with those recent experiences, I was still not prepared for what I have found.

 

Not only do all but the most churlish hotels offer free Wi-Fi access in all areas, but this service is offered in the budget range as well as (I assume) in the more expensive. It’s easy to check when booking ahead – free Wi-Fi? hot water?

 

Complementing this free access to the Internet in hotels is a similar access in coffee shops and restaurants, in some public parks and, a recent discovery, in all train stations. This last is most welcome on an island laced with an affordable and popular train service.

 

And then, to make it even better, tables in coffee shops and waiting rooms in train stations often come equipped with power outlets so reliance on stored battery power is not necessary.

 

I know the Alice Springs Town Council has made free Wi-Fi available in the Todd Mall, the library, Council chambers and perhaps other areas I am unaware of. They deserve full credit for doing this.

 

Now we just need all the hotels and hostels, the coffee shops and the restaurants to follow suit. Make it free, and offer it everywhere. It’s what has come to be expected. It’s how we live, and it will attract visitors.

 

Then if the mobile phone companies finally scrap those money-gouging fees known as international roaming, we could be a fully connected world, and the connection could be within the financial reach of everyone.

 

This goes far beyond just acquiring new knowledge, checking facts or finding and keeping friends and enemies. As idealistic and utopian as it might sound, this emerging connectivity means that a final step in the civilising process that began eons ago when we first stepped out of the caves just might be within our reach. We could actually have the chance today to finally realise One World.

 

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  1. Tony Mayell - CEO Tourism NT
    Posted June 25, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Hal, I couldn’t agree with you more regarding expectations around free WiFi. That’s why the Northern Territory Government – not Alice Springs Town Council – established a WiFi network in Alice Springs back in May 2013.
    It provides visitors to Todd Mall with access a total of three hours free WiFi over a 24 hour period, with a maximum of 200MB download available from any Wi-Fi enabled web browsing device.
    The network cost $84,227 including two years of operational costs, met from Tourism NT’s budget. Alice Springs Town Council is funding half those operational costs – $15,000.
    Further investment from the Northern Territory Government enabled free WiFi to be extended to Traeger Park, initially to service the Chairman’s XI cricket match against England, and the social media element of this was hugely successful in promoting the destination and what was happening there.
    By the end of next week we will also have set up free WiFi for the Alice Springs Tennis Courts adjacent to Traeger Park, ensuring the upcoming Alice Springs Tennis International commencing on 27 September 2014 has access to this facility.
    Additional investment in infrastructure allows future WiFi opportunities for Alice Springs Town Council to access and we encourage the council to utilise the infrastructure to continue the work that was instigated by the NT government.
    More than 50 per cent of domestic visitors use the internet to book tourism products, and free WiFi encourages visitors to book tours and email their family and friends about all the things to see and do in the Territory.

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