Ultra-fast broadband (UFB) infrastructure company, Chorus, is running a year-long competition determine which NZ town will be the first in the southern hemisphere to receive 1Gbps broadband speeds.
Set to launch on Labour Day (October 28), ‘Welcome to Gigatown’ intends to spark innovation and mobilise the potential of UFB to transform local economies and services to drive greater outcomes for NZ communities.
“Over the course of a year we’re going to ask NZ communities to get creative, get online and tell NZ why their town should receive this gigabit connection,” Chorus head of marketing and sales, Victoria Crone, said.
All communities covered by Chorus’ UFB build plans will be eligible to enter the competition. Over the next two months, the company will work with stakeholders (including regional service providers and local councils, to define appropriate boundaries for the competition in order to ensure a level playing field.
According to a statement, Chorus expects that measuring user-generated social media content and online community engagement will play a role in determining the winner. For example, larger cities, such as Auckland and Wellington, will be divided into smaller ‘towns’.
The winning town will receive a 1Gbps connection.
Chorus announced two international UFB experts are in the country to support the announcement of ‘Welcome to Gigatown’, including Company Lab (CO.LAB) innovation lead, Sheldon Grizzle, who said the power of Gigabit fibre to transform an economy is evident from the Chattanooga case.
Chattanooga is a town in Tennessee, USA, which credits Gigabit technology for overhauling its economy. The town was considered one of the most polluted and unliveable cities in the US before it became one of the first to deploy a fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP) network with Gigabit connection speeds to home and businesses; the transformation attracted large economic investment, transforming it into a digital innovation centre. Amazon.com and Volkswagen are among those which explored the opportunity in its early stages.
“It is absolutely possible that the Gigatown project will enable one NZ town to transform itself into a leading digital innovation hub for NZ and beyond,” Grizzle said.
Grizzle is accompanied by fibre specialist, Benoit Felten, the founder of French research and consultancy firm, Diffraction Analysis.
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