Campaign for fast 'net has business support

Brand Aid creative director Luke Johnston says it would be a significant win for Dunedin and business in the city if it was to win the Gigatown competition. Photo by Jonathan Chilton-Towle.
Brand Aid creative director Luke Johnston says it would be a significant win for Dunedin and business in the city if it was to win the Gigatown competition. Photo by Jonathan Chilton-Towle.
Dunedin needs to take the opportunity of having the fastest internet in the southern hemisphere seriously and get behind the Gigatown competition.

That is the message from some businesses relying on the internet daily.

Animation Research managing director Ian Taylor said people should stop worrying about what they would do with technology but rather worry about winning the competition.

Animation Research already had the technology and special data-caps because it would not be able to operate out of Dunedin if it did not.

''Last week we were connected with four different events which were all happening at once, there was the Formula One in Sau Paulo, yacht racing in the Caribbean, golf in Dubai, cricket in Australia and without the technology we have we couldn't do it,'' he said.

Just like the telephone, gigabit technology would be commonplace in homes in five to 10 years so Dunedin needed to take the opportunity the Gigatown competition provided so it was not left behind, he said.

''We are a city of firsts so we are well placed to be the first town in New Zealand to have this technology.''

''At the end of the day someone is going to win it and all that should matter is that Dunedin ... wins.''

Another business promoting the possibilities of the technology is brand development and design company Brand Aid.

Creative director Luke Johnston said if Dunedin was to have the gigabit technology installed there would no longer be a remoteness to doing business in the city.

''At the moment we are somewhat isolated from the rest of the world but if we had access to the gigabit technology that gap will disappear,'' he said.

Being able to collaborate with many different people all at once would open up a world of possibilities that were just not available now, Mr Johnston said.

Motion Sickness Studio director Josh Jeffery said there was already a small cluster of IT and creative businesses which would only grow if Dunedin won the Gigatown competition.

The design studio had clients all around New Zealand and relied on the internet to work with its clients, he said.

Mr Jeffery said about 90% of his day was spent online talking to clients which meant they needed the best technology they could get and having access to gigabit technology would mean Dunedin was no longer segregated from the rest of the world.

It was also about realising the potential Dunedin had as an IT centre.

''With abundant commercial space, relatively cheap rent and the talent coming from the university and polytech, having the gigabit technology is a recipe for success.''


Great leadership

With leadership like this from the local community, it is no wonder we are a backwater.  Looking at the comments with respect to the competition, nothing stacks up here.

- ARL already has a fast Internet conenction.  Ian Taylor has made various comments over the years about bandwidth restricions; all he needed to do was to find the right provider and pay for the service.  There's no restriction any longer on capacity out of Dunedin.
- Luke Johnston says in 5 years everyone will have gigabit.  And the Gigatown competition only runs for 12 months.  So there's no unique long-term advantage to winning it for Dunedin.
- Even with all of that, the "gigabit technology" is already here.  The Chorus Price Book (which applies to the Dunedin area) lists a 1Gbps/1Gbps service at $455/month.  Or a business can get dark fibre to their ISP for $355/month and run it at 10Gbps if they wanted to.

The town that wins the competition will get fibre ports at Gigabit speed for the entry level price of $37.50/month.  Nothing more.  So the value to a business is the difference between the $37.50 monthly cost and $355 or $455 - at most $5000 per connection for the 12 months of the competition. If Johnston and Taylor can see huge economic benefits to Dunedin businesses, then businesses should go for it now.  Get a gigabit connection in, spend the additional monthly cost and get ahead - it's only going to cost you $5000 more if you do it now than if you wait 15 months. 

There are far better things that the local business leadership could be doing to encourage the uptake of fast fibre connections.  Because they don't fully understand the technology, they aren't able to clearly articulate these.  They are, however, easily swayed by a marketing campaign carefully designed by Chorus to appeal to the technologically-naive. 

ODT/directory - Local Businesses

CompanyLocationBusiness Type
Ranfurly Holiday Park and MotelsRanfurlyHoliday Parks
EDL Fasteners LtdDunedinIndustrial Supplies
Clarendon HotelDunedinHotels
Avenue of LearningDunedinChildcare & Kindergartens