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Monday, 31 January 2011 09:03

Sydney ferries offer free WiFi, via Tomizone

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The NSW Government has extended a WiFi service launched last June on Manly Ferries - and provided using New Zealand company Tomizone - to most of the ferries in its fleet.

NSW transport minister, John Robertson, said 13 ferries operating 1500 services per week and serving not only Many but Balmain, Birchgrove, Balmain West, Woolwich, Greenwich, Milsons Point, Kirribilli, Cremorne Point, Neutral Bay and Pyrmont Bay would offer the service. He said the service would now be available to some 70 percent of Sydney ferry users.

Travellers can use the service for up to 30 minutes twice per day, or a maximum download of 30MB twice per day, at no charge. After that it cost $3 for 60 minutes or 60MB. A 24 hour/160BGB pass is $6, a 7 day/1.2GB pass $30 and a one month/3GB pass $39.95.

Earlier this month Robertson also announced that a three month trial of free WiFi at Circular Quay train station would be extended for a further three months. He said more than 10,000 people had used the service, generating 26,000 Internet sessions and downloading over 55GB of data.

"The response has been overwhelmingly positive so we've decided to extend the trial'¦Over 96 percent of customers who have provided feedback on the trial rated the service 'highly useful' and supported a rollout to other CityRail stations," Robertson said "A further 91 percent of respondents said they agreed that WiFi services at stations would improve their overall experience with CityRail."

He gave no indication of any plans to extend the service to other stations, saying only: "As each trial progresses we are learning more about the technology, the challenges of providing Internet services on public transport, and how to overcome them. Every trial get's us one step closer to rolling out these sorts of technologies across our broader public transport network."

Tomizone, the company supporting the service was founded in 2006. Its initial concept was to offers users of private WiFi hotspots the ability to earn revenue by offering access to the general public. Software installed in the WiFi router billed the casual user and the revenue was shared with the hotspot owner.

The location of Tomizone hotspots in people's homes was mapped on Tomizone's web site. And under a partnership with D-Link D-Link routers sold through retail channels come preloaded with the Tomizone software which users have the option to activate.

The company has grown steadily. In February 2009 it claimed to be the largest hotspot operator in Australia and has since broken into the Chinese and Indian markets.

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