OPINION: Many of you may have heard of "gigatown".
Many may not have.
It is a nationwide competition being run by Government contractor Chorus, laying the ultra-fast broadband (UFB) fibre throughout the country at a cost of $1.35 billion.
You will have seen them all over Marlborough digging cables into the ground.
Ultra-fast broadband will bring fibre optic technology to homes, schools, hospitals, marae and businesses.
By 2020, 75 per cent of New Zealanders will be connected to ultra-fast broadband. Schools, hospitals and 90 per cent of businesses will be connected by 2015.
Homes and the remaining 10 per cent of businesses will be connected by 2019.
So without getting into the "bits and bytes" of technology, simply put it is like taking the Model T Ford and upgrading to a Formula 1, like Morse Code to a cordless telephone and a wash board to a washing machine.
Whether or not you use the internet a little, a lot, live on it privately or depend on it professionally or have never used it all, it will impact you in one way or another.
It may well be the very foundation stone we need to grow economic value in Marlborough, create new businesses, jobs, wealth and opportunity to retain our youth in the region.
People and businesses that once had to reside where head offices were and commute in heavy traffic may well be able to work seamlessly away from the office, as many now do, and be fully productive while living, working and playing in one of New Zealand's most desirable regions.
It's possible, it's almost here and it will change things.
In just the past 10 days there have been three examples in the news about "ideas, concepts and reality" that use the internet that were a short while ago unimaginable, such as medical portals, smart maps etc.
Marlborough needs to grow economically.
We must find reasons to retain our youth in Marlborough and whether we like it or not the internet and how we access it for work or play is impacting the way we all do things.
With UFB there is no reason our youth need leave Marlborough to find jobs or advance their higher education.
They can do it all from here. If we don't grow, an ageing population will be burdened with a higher share of the costs.
It's simple. Register at gigatown.co.nz and post comments using #gigatownbln on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Every #gigatownbln post counts for points.
Heaps of fun with a very serious purpose for us all.
For more information and to see others' questions and the Gigatown Blenheim team's answers, visit facebook.com/Gigatown.Blenheim
- The Marlborough Express