Just in time for play-by-play tweets about the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, Auckand has instituted a fully-integrated WiFi network across its Link public transit system. According to officials, buses and some trains will get the free internet treatment, giving passengers up to three 30 minute sessions a day between September 1 and October 31st. Powered by Tomizone and sponsored by Localist, the network promises 2 - 6Mbps downloads and is based on point-to-point links around town using fiber assets for backhaul. If that wasn't enough connectivity, CallPlus and Slingshot are dishing out some gratis WiFi of their own with an additional thousand hotspots sprinkled throughout the city. Hopefully, the added infrastructure will mean WiFi access par excellence year round for maximum non-Rugby related tweetage. Check out the full PR after the break.

[Thanks, Scott]
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Auckland launches Wi-Fi world first

The world's first fully integrated metropolitan Wi-Fi system including free roaming Wi-Fi access across the central city and on public transport has gone live in Auckland.

The city Wi-Fi network extends across all Link buses and some trains, with the announcement that Auckland Transport has joined the network with Auckland Council and Wi-Fi supplier Tomizone.

Internet on the Auckland Wi-Fi network, provided free to users due to sponsorship from Localist, has already seen strong support from Aucklanders and visitors with heavy usage in the first week of operation.

"This is a global blueprint for how a sustainable Wi-Fi network can benefit residents and visitors – even while travelling on public transport," says Len Brown. "I'm encouraged by the number of people already using a network built by Aucklanders in under six weeks in time for Rugby World Cup."

The Wi-Fi service is available on all new Link buses and selected trains. Over time, Aucklanders can expect to see the service expanding across the transport system and across the city.

"Being able to access the internet via this new Wi-Fi service means our customers and our visitors to the city can make more effective use of their commute time", says Mark Lambert, Auckland Transport's Public Transport Operations Manager.

"Auckland Transport will evaluate the success of the Wi-Fi service prior to making it more widely available across the public transport network.", Says Mr Lambert.

"Auckland is now home to the best integrated Wi-Fi network across a city anywhere in the world and it's something our team are very proud to have delivered in such a short time," says Tomizone Executive Director Steve Simms.

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CallPlus and Slingshot give Auckland City and its rugby world cup visitors FREE WiFi access

6th September 2011

CallPlus and Slingshot this week announced that they are providing a free WiFi service to the city of Auckland for the duration of the Rugby World Cup.

As CallPlus CEO Mark Callander says, "this is our contribution to the city of Auckland. We want to help showcase Auckland as a great place to do business by making it quick and easy to get connected. It takes just one click to use our free service and it does not require tokens, apply time restrictions or have a complicated sign up process."

"Our visitors must get convenient access to the internet to keep in touch with family and friends, and most importantly avoid paying excessive mobile roaming charges. With average global roaming prices at $10 per Mb, 1GB of usage would cost a user $10,000 – that makes for an expensive holiday!"

"Many visitors will have a smart mobile device which are becoming very popular and we are committed to helping them make the most of this technology. We have deployed almost half of the planned 1,000 hot spots within the coverage area of the Auckland Central Business District, the Viaduct, Ponsonby, Grey Lynn, Herne Bay and Freemans Bay."

Callander continues "the WiFi access points have been offered to all bars, restaurants, hotels, motels and any place where large numbers of people are expected to meet. If any business located in these coverage areas would like to offer an obligation free WiFi service, simply go to www.rugbysupporters.co.nz and request WiFi hot spot. It is simply plug and play."

"We are seeing very quick uptake with over 50Gb of traffic per day on the network which is amazing, but it is a reflection of how easy the service is to use. All people have to do is click on the 'CallPlus Rugby Supporters' or 'Slingshot Rugby Supporters' and you're away. Give it a go."

"The service is being delivered over our own 4G Wireless network so it is independent of other initiatives designed to provide a similar service. This is great for Auckland and its visitors and should result in a positive customer experience that should spread to their friends and family around the world."

For more information, go to www.rugbysupporters.co.nz.