Announcing the initiative today, Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says Wellington will be the first city in New Zealand to offer free wireless internet services across most of its central business district.
The service will be available in time for the Rugby World Cup 2011.
"I am very pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached between CityLink Limited and Wellington City Council to establish a free-to-use Wi-Fi network in the main areas of the central business district," says Mayor Wade-Brown.
"This is a significant step in our city's evolution to a creative digital city.
"Coverage will initially be most of the area from Waitangi Park and Courtenay Place along the 'golden mile' to the Westpac Stadium as well as up Cuba Street. It will eventually be extended to other locations like the Zoo, Zealandia, the Cable Car and Carter Observatory as well as to our main libraries.
"It's great that the system will be in place for the World Cup - there'll be thousands of people visiting the Capital from the Northern Hemisphere who'll enjoy being able to get free Wi-Fi here."
The free network will be funded by the City Council at a cost of $80,000 then $216,000 per annum, with some of this cost expected to be offset by sponsorship. Sponsorship of the access page gives Wellington business owners a great opportunity to extend their shop-front.
"CityLink are very pleased to partner with the Wellington City Council to bring this new Wi-Fi service to the city" says Brian Phillips, Chief Operating Officer for CityLink.
"CityLink will continue to separately offer CafeNet - an ad-free, pay Wi-Fi network and will leverage a significant portion of this asset to provision the free Wi-Fi service for the council."
Wellington web design company Shift are developing the access page.
When it is up and running, the network can be accessed by clicking through a sponsorship page and conditions for use. Users will be given a 30-minute session. After 30 minutes the sponsorship page will reappear so that users can reconnect.
Users will not be asked to sign up for an account or surrender any form of personal or payment information.
"The network will allow free public access to the internet for activities like checking email, connecting through social networking and having instant access to information,'' says the Mayor.
"People will be able to use their laptops, smart phones and other portable devices to connect with each other and access information on the run. This is increasingly important to people, particularly when travelling."
"We want to make sure Wellington is great place to live and a great place to travel to."