Dunedin is in the race to get gigabit internet speeds
in a competition that pits it against 49 other places in New
Zealand. Reporter Jonathan Chilton-Towle finds out how such
speeds improved the fortunes of a US city as Dunedin rallies to
become the Southern Hemisphere's first ''gigatown''.
Dunedin Digital Office Gigatown promoter Josh Jenkins
speaks to Chattanooga Gigtank co-founder Sheldon Grizzle
via Skype to learn about how Gigabit UFB could benefit
Dunedin. Photo by Jonathan Chilton-Towle.
Dunedin has slipped down the rankings in Chorus' ''Gigatown''
competition even as its campaign leaders learned more about
how ultra-fast broadband could be a catalyst for social and
The city yesterday dropped from the top 10 in the national
competition, falling ever further from the top-five finish it
needs for a tilt at securing access to one-gigabit-a-second
Gigatown Dunedin promoter Josh Jenkins asked supporters to
redouble their efforts - and urged city folk to support the
campaign - with a view to Dunedin achieving a renaissance
similar to that experienced by other cities overseas.
In 2010, the 167,000-strong city of Chattanooga became the
first in the United States to have publicly available, one
Chattanooga Gigtank co-founder Sheldon Grizzle said
high-speed internet was a huge catalyst for growth.
The ultra-fast internet speeds provided a massive boost for
connectivity and efficiency for businesses - something that
was only beginning to be understood three years later.
According to the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, about
1000 jobs had been created as a result of the high-speed
The internet speeds had drawn several companies to the city.
Bulgarian company Hutgrip found the speeds allowed it to
beta-test its cloud-based monitoring products more accurately
than in its home country, while internet search engine
Mozilla launched a community fund in the city to experiment,
develop and implement learning and workforce opportunities
enhanced by the internet.
Volkswagen had built an assembly plant, which created 12,400
full-time jobs and generated $643.1 million in state-wide
Mr Grizzle believed high-speed internet would create enormous
opportunities for Dunedin and New Zealand although this would
take time to happen.
Gigabit-speed internet was ''crazy fast''and its efficiency,
extrapolated to the entire community, created many options
and would knock on to businesses and people who had no
relationship with the internet, he said.