Battle of the Gigatowns heats up at market

Campaign for superfast internet gets big push

STACEY KNOTT
Last updated 13:00 27/01/2014
Mike O'Malley, Laura Irish and Dan Allan
MARTIN de RUYTER/Fairfax NZ

GET CONNECTED: Musketeers Mike O'Malley, Laura Irish and Dan Allan promote the Gigatown high speed internet competition at the Nelson market. The actors are appearing in a local production.

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Nelson Gigatown volunteers hit the Saturday market to convince locals and tourists to vote in a competition to bring highspeed internet to the area.

A group of Nelsonians has been running a social media campaign to win the competition, run by ultrafast broadband installer Chorus, though their latest aim has been to get face-to-face to persuade people to vote for Nelson.

The competition is running throughout New Zealand and people can sign up and promote their town or city on Facebook and Twitter to win the highspeed internet for their town.

If Nelson wins, internet speeds will be about 80 times faster than an ADSL connection.

Until Tuesday, Chorus is offering extra points in the competition with a bonus of 75,000 points available for the town with the most new sign-ups.

NMIT information technology tutor Dr Clare Atkins said the market stall was successful.

"We had a a great time down there, we gained a lot of supporters," she said.

She estimated they had gained about 400 new supporters through the weekend, but still wanted more.

She said many people had heard about the competition and they were also recruiting overseas visitors to sign up.

They were visited by actors from the local Three Musketeers production as well as The Block television show contestants Nelson couple Loz and Tom Heaphy.

The group is focused on beating other towns.

Nelson is in 13th place with Wanaka in first place, according to the Chorus website, but Gigatown Nelson plans to push higher up the list.

"We have another competition coming up on Instagram and to push local businesses to understand how important it is for them," Dr Aitken said.

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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