Free Wi-Fi in Waikiki
Wireless service in Waikiki is up and running.
HONOLULU - Wireless service in Waikiki is up and running. It didn't take long for word to spread among McKinley high students who were out on a field trip.
"I have unlimited data, but this is way faster. I am going to connect every time I come to the beach," said Hokulani Dunn.
"I go out a lot in Waikiki especially, and now that I know that there is wifi there’s better chance of my phone lasting," said Dyani Misiluti.
The city quietly rolled out the service last week, thanks to a new partnership with Time Warner Cable. The service will be limited to one hour of free wireless a day-- for the general public.
Customers of Time Warner who have wireless at home will have unlimited Wi-Fi access. The city says so will customers of companies like Direct TV and DISH and Comcast.
The private-public partnership has engineered the 40 hot spots to handle a large load of users.
Officials said the plan has been to roll this out in time for the Honolulu Marathon. That's when thousands of people line the streets to greet the runners as they come across the finish line.
"We are bringing additional access points for the marathon because we realize now-a-days it can be a matter of public safety having these connections as we saw in Boston,. So we want to make sure people can get on this network so it can handle thousands and thousands of people," said the city's Director of Information Technology Mark Wong.
"That's the beauty of this network. It will give us the opportunity to scale and dimension this network, so if we can add more capacity, we can," said Vijay Venkateswaran of Time Warner Cable.
The city said service, however, will only be available during park hours. So, from midnight to 5 a.m. the service at Kapiolani Park gets turned off.
And as with any wireless service, the city's IT guy said the rules about best practices to safeguard important data apply.
"There is no such thing as 100 percent networking. The best practice is to best be wary and protect your information. Don't get on this network and do your banking," warned Wong.
The city said the network will push out information important to residents and visitors -- sites like Beach Safety alerting of potential hazards out on the sand and sea.
But don’t expect to see signs in the park saying Wi-Fi brought to you by Time Warner. Wong said the Outdoor Circle and Kapiolani Park Preservation Society have concerns about that kind of commercialism.