Dunedin businessman Ian Taylor (left) and Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull discuss the city's economic potential, should it win the Chorus Welcome to Gigatown community competition. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Being the first city in the southern hemisphere to provide
residents with one gigabit per second (1gbs) internet
connection speeds could send Dunedin into an upward economic
spiral equivalent to the gold rush, a prominent Dunedin
technology application specialist says.
Ian Taylor said the last time Dunedin experienced a major
economic boom was in the 1860s, during the Otago gold rush,
and he believed if the city won Chorus' Welcome to Gigatown
community competition, which offers 1gbs internet connection
for three years, it would enable Dunedin to become a leading
digital innovation hub for New Zealand and beyond.
''This is the next gold rush. I call it the yellow brick
''The gold rush was our peak. It's when we built our
university, our railway station ...
''To have this level of data will put us back at the top.''
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said the city would compete with
other New Zealand centres over a period of 15 months to win
an early upgrade to a 1gbs network, which would be 100 times
faster than available now.
''Yes, you will be able to download data more quickly, but
the real opportunity is in Dunedin building on its
technological infrastructure and environment to move data
more efficiently and connect with businesses and communities
all over the world.
''With the right communications networks, Dunedin becomes a
very attractive proposition for investors interested in the
opportunities Dunedin offers in health technologies,
education and learning, niche manufacturing and design
''That, in turn, will pull in more talented people who choose
to live in Dunedin, raise families and work globally.''
The power of the connection would give start-ups, software
companies and developers who can live anywhere in the world,
a reason to choose Dunedin, he said.
Dunedin would need to have an ongoing citywide conversation
on how it would apply digital communications creatively and
practically on an everyday basis to achieve our economic
goals of increasing skills, incomes, job opportunities and
investment in the city and provide a better service for
ratepayers, he said.
Dunedin's bid in the Gigatown competition was launched at
Unity Park in Mornington yesterday by Mr Cull and Mr Taylor.
But Dunedin is not the only town in Otago vying for the
At present, Oamaru is top of the scoreboard, Wanaka is fourth
and Dunedin sixth. Queenstown is also running in the
competition but does not appear in the Chorus top 10 leader
Federated Farmers chief executive Conor English said the
competition was a great opportunity for rural towns.
He said farmers were desperate for new ways to get on to the
internet and this competition had the potential, for one
fortunate town, to spark innovation and mobilise and
transform its local economy and society.
''Rural people are people too, so all the advantages of
faster broadband apply in the countryside as well as the
''On top of that, most of our exports originate from the
countryside, so the potential economic benefit is significant
''Given there is huge potential to improve productivity and
attract/retain people in rural New Zealand through
technology, we hope a provincial town or city wins this
To win, residents need to take to social media to share their
views on why their town should win, by using hashtags such as
#GIGATOWNDUN, #GIGATOWNOAM, #GIGATOWNWKA, or #GIGATOWNQTN.
Points will be given for each mention, and will be counted
and adjusted relative to the town's size to become
The adjustment for town size ensures that each town has the
same opportunity to be the Gigatown.
The town which creates the biggest buzz will become Gigatown.