Wellington wifi and copyright law both go live

Free wifi is now available in Wellington's outdoor areas from Westpac Stadium to the Embassy cinema, encompassing the waterfront, the Golden Mile and Cuba Street. File photo / NZ Herald
Free wifi is now available in Wellington's outdoor areas from Westpac Stadium to the Embassy cinema, encompassing the waterfront, the Golden Mile and Cuba Street. File photo / NZ Herald

Wellington's free wifi internet went live today - the same day as the controversial so-called three strikes law came into effect.

From today, free wifi is available in outdoor areas from Westpac Stadium to the Embassy cinema, encompassing the waterfront, the Golden Mile and Cuba Street, thanks to a Wellington City Council and CityLink initiative, with support from Kiwibank.

The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011, which requires internet companies to issue warning notices to customers suspected of illegally downloading copyright content at the request of those who own the rights to it, also comes into effect today.

It will be the holder of an internet account - not necessarily the person doing the illegal downloading - that will liable for any infringements.

Wellington City Mayor Celia Wade-Brown is confident the council won't fall foul of the new legislation.

"The council has taken advice on the issue, and we are quite comfortable that we are able to comply with the new act," she says. "The council is primarily funding the network, but we are not a provider as outlined in the act."

Wellington becomes the first Australasian city to have free wifi in the central business district.

"Our compact central business district means free wireless is far more manageable to install than in most cities. We've got a huge number of laptop and smartphone owners in this smart city of ours, and we see this as a small step towards enhancing our digital and communications reputation."

- HERALD ONLINE

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