First North Canterbury town gets free Wi-Fi

Culverden WIFIEnterprise North Canterbury (ENC) has joined up with local broadband provider, Amuri.net, to bring free Wi-Fi to Culverden making it the first town in North Canterbury to provide free Wi-Fi along its main street.

“There is a growing list of regional centres around New Zealand offering free Wi-Fi, and we’re thrilled that Culverden is leading the way for North Canterbury towns. We hope this successful collaboration sends a strong message to other communities to band together to stay ahead in technology,” said Enterprise North Canterbury CEO Heather Warwick.

ENC works directly with councils, local businesses and communities to make broadband available throughout North Canterbury.

“We couldn’t have achieved this without the partnerships we’ve created with local business and community support,” Mrs Warwick adds.

“It is becoming a requisite that businesses and communities are connected to adequate and reliable broadband. Many businesses, like motels and café’s, are often chosen because they offer a free Wi-Fi service. On a rural town scale it will be illuminating to see what economic benefits Culverden reaps with this new initiative,” said Mrs Warwick.

Hurunui District Council Mayor, Winton Dally, was also enthusiastic about the project. “It's important because mobile devices are the way an increasing number of people are getting connected, finding information, and interacting. More and more people have mobile devices with them as they travel, so it makes sense to offer them free internet access which should also encourage them to stay in the Village longer and enjoy what is on offer there.”

The availability of free Wi-Fi indicates that the town is forward-thinking, a place where new ideas and technology are welcomed and is a community that values its visitors. It is great that this initiative was driven by ENC, our business development unit, supported by the community and delivered by our local technology entrepreneur Chris Roberts who has done an amazing service to our district by providing internet solutions.”

Chris Roberts, owner of Amuri.net, has provided Internet solutions to most of Hurunui in hard to access areas for broadband. Mr Roberts, who is also sponsoring this initiative, believes this is a great victory for Culverden.

“I’m happy to support an initiative that will have nothing but positive ramifications for our community,” said Mr Roberts. “Culverden is an ideal stopping point for visitors and business people driving to Hanmer Springs, the West Coast or Nelson. With thousands of traffic movements a day it will encourage people to stop and take advantage of this free service and other facilities in the town.”

“Working alongside ENC is what turned this initiative into a reality. Their enthusiasm and commitment is infectious and we’re pleased to have worked in partnership with them to make this happen for Culverden,” said Mr Roberts.

W9fi is now available along the main street of Culverden. Users have an unlimited amount of time and a cap of 200MB.

Owner of the local Red Post café, Trent Allison said, “It’s a fantastic initiative that will encourage more people to stop in Culverden. I think it will make a huge difference to our business, especially in the summer tourist months.”

Mrs Warwick adds, “Culverden is the first but certainly not the last North Canterbury town to be connected with free Wi-Fi. Cheviot Promotions and ENC are banding together to be the next town to lead free Wi-Fi to visitors in the next few weeks. We encourage local businesses to contact us if they want to be the catalyst that brings free Wi-Fi to their town centre. We can only make this happen and sustain this initiative by engaging and partnering with local towns.”

Free Wi-Fi signage is now installed and their placement shows the boundaries of access, from the public toilets on the main road through to Amuri Transport.