Eat Street publicity - Free wifi ponderings

So, as most of you are probably aware, Eat Street is moving between us and the river. Given our proximity, what better way to advertise ourselves than free WiFi?

This is just a preliminary brainstorm, so nothing is set in stone.

  • We’re right in the middle of an NBN area - upgrade to fibre internet say 50/20Mbps or 100/40Mbps.
  • We’ve got a number of lighting towers around us - perfect places for antennas and access points, given the landlady’s permission ofcourse.
  • HSBNE/Northshore Hamilton splash screen - “Hey, welcome to Northshore Hamilton, home of HSBNE. We’re a place to come and make cool stuff, and right next door to you, come check us out!” kinda thing.

That’s pretty much my idea, get fibre internets so we can support the number of people who attend eat street. Throw some antennas on the lighting towers we have to get the range and avoid obstacles. Perhaps Ubiquiti gear? Keep it on a separate network and have a splash screen that introduces us.

I’ve called TPG, apparently we can get the NBN, previously we’ve had no luck getting it, possibly due to the network not being ready at the time, @lhovo is going to prod some more. We’re presumably either in rollout region 4ACO-05 or 4ACO-07, ready for service on 13 Feb '15 and 28 April '15 respectively.

Pros for us

  • Better internet - Eat street is only on during the weekend. Imagine having 40 or 100 magic interunits to share for the rest of the week! Come in when it’s quiet and bask in the glorious intertubes.
  • Publicity - Eat street brings loads of people right next to us. People like free WiFi. A splash screen will give us the chance to show off much easier than a sign or much else can allow.
  • More members - More publicity would hopefully result in more members, this means more income for the space, more hands to help out around the space and more brains to run the exec.


  • Initial/recurring cost - We’d need to purchase some manner of access point hardware at the least, it may be possible to repurpose some access points we have but I question their ability to support large numbers of clients. Also, internet cost; Presuming we’d still make it under the “residential” category, the NBN should be less than double the current internet cost, TPG having the 100/40 unlimited plan at $100/mo. Where we get charged a business rate it’s more likely to be in the realm of $300/mo for a 100/100 mbit unlimited plan, about 4x more than present ADSL. One upside to the symmetrical business plan is we may be able to pull in some members looking for fast uploads, e.g. Youtubers.

  • Effort - Someone has to set this up, being a splash screen, firewall config and getting an AP in place (I dibs climbing the tower). Given the extra publicity this may also push for an update of our checkin system and other similar infrastructure.

  • Interest on weekends - This one is a bit annoying. Eat Street works weekends. The best time to show off the space is Tuesday, our open night. Perhaps we move the open night to Friday/Saturday or try to redirect visitors to come on Tuesday, who knows.

Or you know, all this would bring 1 or 2 new visitors and we just get better internets and also give away said internets.



Unsure if they will allow us to join a residential plan,
presently we are on a Business plan and a similar specked plan for business is around the $300 p/m
@pikkaachu might have a better idea on what we need and expected prices before we fork out.

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Speaking to @pikkaachu yesterday, he suggested it might be more hassle than its worth providing free wifi to the public, so he suggested it might be worth offering it just to the vendors for a fee. Thoughts?

Out of curiosity, what makes that any less complex than supplying it to the public? To supply vendors we’d still need all of the hardware in place, the only thing I can imagine we’d be able to leave out is a splash screen.

Edit: and when we’re supplying it at a fee reliability is expected, that adds an extra layer of complexity.

The biggest cost is the bandwidth required to supply it to so many people at once reliably.
Then comes the infrastructure to divide that bandwidth between Access points, the cabling to the access points and the support needed for the network.

To reduce the congestion you will have to limit each user in some way, either shaping (super annoying for the user) or a time/mb limit per day.

To manage all this you need to run a server which in turn adds bottlenecks to the speed of the connection.

Limiting it to the store holders reduces expectations, damages to HSBNE name and will give us a realistic overview on how the operation will need to scale up if we are to deliver it to everyone.

As such I’m all for delivering it to the store holders as a stepping stone prior to ramping the network up if we decide to do so later.


As far as I can tell TPG only offers the one business fibre plan, 100/100 mbit. I’d say that’s unlikely to be reached, but given the demands of intertubes these days an open network might just manage that.

Depending on how many users actually use it, throttling 100 mbit down isn’t too painful for the end user. I’ve tried this before with our pfsense box which seems to manage, however I’m not sure how it’ll cope with such a high throughput. It’s possible a dedicated box would be needed.

What kind of pricing would you think is reasonable for store owners only? We’d need to make $300/mo at least to break even (unless there are cheaper business plans), and that doesn’t even cover equipment costs. It’s not really worth doing if we’re operating at a loss.

What would be the best way to propose this to the shop owners? Flyer handouts, Eat Street coordinators?

I’m not familiar with the eat street layout. Approx how may stores are there presently?

Didn’t count then but i estimate minimum of 50 possibly as high as 100

The only reason I would say no to moving meeting night to the weekend to accommodate for publicity from the markets would be the traffic.
Now, the traffic doesn’t affect me because I can just cut right through it. But I can see it being a real pain for most people. It currently takes 30minutes to get through the traffic now, the only reason it isn’t a longer wait is simply because the road cant fit any more cars on it.

Might just be speculation but given they’re increasing the number of parking spots from 500 to 1500 the traffic might die down a bit? And there isn’t really a set time to be there/get out like Cirque so we might get lucky.

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