Now you can stay connected - even at the beach

By Imran Ali

A leading telecommunications company has provided free Wi-Fi hotspots to key holiday destinations in Northland this summer.

Telecom Wi-Fi hotspots will be activated in Waipu, Waipu Cove, Whananaki, Mangonui, Taupo Bay, Taipa, Paihia, Russell, Coopers' Beach and Cable Bay from tomorrow.

The initiative is part of a New Zealand-wide trial, which involves more than 100 Telecom Wi-Fi hotspots in popular summer regions throughout New Zealand, including Northland, the Coromandel, Bay of Plenty Tasman and Queenstown Lakes, to help keep Kiwis connected all summer long.

The initiative has been welcomed by Northland Inc's Brian Roberts, who said individual tourism operators had been asking for Wi-Fi services for some time.

Telecom's general manager (mobile product), Ed Hyne, said all users needed was a New Zealand cellphone number with any provider to stay connected.

"Whether it's searching for a nearby cafe, uploading a few holiday snaps to your Facebook page, or, in my case, checking work emails, Kiwis and visitors can get online for free without having to leave their deckchair."

During the course of the summer, he said Telecom and ZM radio would host "Telecom Wi-Fi Lounge" areas in select locations around Northland, with deckchairs and umbrellas, to allow people to relax while they surfed the net.

He said staff would be on hand to show people how to use the service, so they could upload and share summer holiday pics with friends and family online.

The company is activating the service through existing Telecom telephone boxes in the selected regions, and in some cases by building Wi-Fi access points into existing infrastructure such as surf clubs and local shops.

Users initially will be taken through a short online registration process before their device automatically connects to the service each time afterwards.

The company has also partnered with select surf lifesaving clubs to deliver Wi-Fi to local beachgoers. And the partnership doesn't end there.

Mr Hyne said additionally smartphones, tablets and other gadgets were becoming a constant presence on the beach, so the company had been more than happy to help Kiwis get even more out of their beach days.

He said residents in Baylys Beach and Paparoa and surrounding areas were also experiencing improved coverage on Telecom's XT Mobile Network after the recent upgrading of mobile cell sites this year.

To check out the Telecom Wi-Fi hotspots in your area and for updates on the hotspot beach parties, simply go online to:

- Northern Advocate

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