Commuters on the privately-owned Manly Fast Ferry service can access free WiFi internet from today following a successful two week trial of the service.
The free WiFi service gives the private operator an edge over cheaper, slower ferry services provided by the NSW State Government-owned Sydney Ferries, which cancelled a trial of a similar service last year.
Manly Fast Ferry WiFi will be provided by CafeScreen - a company which was set to provide similar free WiFi services as part of an ANZ promotion on Government-owned Sydney Ferries in January. The promotion was cancelled due to conflicting timing with Sydney Ferries privatisation talks, also held in January.
Sydney Ferries customer relations manager Samantha Hudson told iTnews that after successful testing in August 2009, the promotional WiFi service was axed.
"We will release a tender in the next few months for a service provider for WiFi and Bluetooth," she said.
CafeScreen CEO Ruwan Weerasooriya said that consumer uptake of WiFi enabled devices has provided demand for wireless internet access points.
"The daily commute to and from work is a very natural time for consumers to expect free WiFi services," he said.
Manly Fast Ferry operations director Will Ford challenged other ferry operators to follow its lead.
"We're about convenience, value and innovation. Having trialed WiFi over the past couple of weeks, we are delighted that CafeScreen has helped us to up the ante."