Nelson chases internet speed

KATE DAVIDSON
Last updated 12:00 14/12/2013
BITS AND BOBS: Gigatown competition seeks the first town in the Southern hemisphere to access one gigabit per second internet connection.
BITS AND BOBS: Gigatown competition seeks the first town in the Southern hemisphere to access one gigabit per second internet connection.

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Nelson could hashtag its way to becoming the first city in the southern hemisphere to win access to super high speed one gigabit per second internet as part of the nationwide Gigatown competition.

The competition, run by ultrafast broadband installer Chorus, relies on locals to sign up and promote their city on Facebook and Twitter by using hashtag #gigatownnsn or #gigatownnelson.

Chorus will award one New Zealand place the super speedy internet connection and $200,000 to help take advantage of the winning prize.

Organiser of the Nelson effort, Matthew Dodd, said winning the competition could be a huge boost for the region economically.

"High speed internet would bring Nelson closer to Auckland, Wellington and the world. Closer for Nelson families, closer for Nelson artists, closer for Nelson patients and closer for Nelson businesses. High speed internet would help us to retain more of our young people by enabling improved educational opportunities, improved entertainment opportunities and much improved job opportunities," he said.

Mr Dodd said high speed internet would also provide "more breadth and depth to the job market" as becoming Gigatown would attract startups, contact centres, branch offices for national/international companies, education providers, service companies and IT businesses.

Mr Dodd, along with Clare Atkins, Kathryn Koopmanschap, Matt Peacey, David Brydon, Ross McLennan and others, have volunteered to run Nelson's effort.

The competition was gaining support from businesses, individuals, the community, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, Nelson Regional Economic Development Agency, and the Nelson City Council.

The council decided on Thursday not to lead the campaign, but to support the community in their efforts, with Mayor Rachel Reese agreeing to get behind the campaign.

Wanaka is leading the competition, while Nelson is in 14th place, two behind Blenheim.

The competition will run until September. People can sign up by visiting gigatown.co.nz and choosing Nelson as their town.

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- The Nelson Mail

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