I had a press release in my inbox this morning announcing that The Langham Hotel, one of the nicest hotels in Auckland, has now upgraded their Wi-fi and is available throughout the conference areas. As a celebration, they are offering free Wi-fi with all booking up to the 31st of August 2011. Janine Daniel, Director of Events and Conferences says,
“This upgrade means that we can offer meeting planners an additional level of sophistication that they can in turn provide their clients and events. This will make The Great Room not only the most beautiful meeting venue in New Zealand but also the most accessible and technologically advanced”
You might be thinking, ‘What’s the big deal?’, before doing a double take and realising that, yes, this is a current announcement. This is 2011. And even our nicer hotels and conference centres, with The Langham in the lead, are just now upgrading their Wi-fi.
I have often been sitting in a cafe in the city and overheard newly arrived visitors complaining about the internet connection going in and out. Some complain, and some just scratch their heads saying something about how lucky they are back at home. But, I think in general, people are really surprised.
Now before you start asking questions about the caves we live in down here, this is a perfectly modern and developed country. But the fact remains that we are a tiny island nation with a small population. As such, the laws of supply and demand along with those of having a small economy mean that some things get prioritised a little differently. Don’t Kiwis want better internet? Well, of course we do and there are plenty of people lobbying for change, but until then we’ll all have to put up with what we’ve got.
My advice to travellers would be to try and take it in your stride. You are on holiday, after all! Most of what I hear from foreigners wanting to come to New Zealand involves scenery, bungy jumping or some variation of the two. I’ve not once heard anyone say they wanted to come for the internet. So, remember what has drawn you here.
As far as hotel internet goes, many charge a fee for use. So, check ahead if you will need to do a lot of things online. Also, beware that many cafes now offer Wi-fi however this is rarely free. Sometimes there is a charge and sometimes they will give you a voucher for 1 hour with your purchase. Also, bear in mind that this applies to other main centres such as Wellington, Christchurch, Rotorua and Queenstown, but not necessarily to smaller towns.
But, hey, what are you doing sitting in front of your computer? Get out there and see New Zealand!
Photo: I MEDIA DEI PADRONI VS INTERNET, OASI DI LIBERTA’ by Sinistra Ecologia Liberta on Flickr