Dunedin's Gigatown rollout ends

Dunedin's Gigatown experience is winding down, now fibre roll-out in the city is complete and all of the $700,000 of promised funding has been handed out.

The city now boasts 11,615 residences or businesses with gig-speed internet, and cheap prices for the service are available for another year.

In December 2014, the city won the Gigatown competition that made it the first in New Zealand to get one gigabit per second broadband services.

The win came after a massive online push from residents and supporters that lifted the city to the top of the competition.

As part of the win, telecommunications infrastructure company Chorus accelerated the roll-out of fibre broadband, and provided $700,000 of funding, $500,000 for community groups, and $200,000 for businesses.

The money was set aside for projects that used ultra-fast broadband technology, and included grants for groups from the Dunedin Gasworks Museum to Meals on Wheels, and a variety of businesses.

Chorus stakeholder and communications manager Steve Pettigrew said the company had originally intended to finish its roll-out in 2019, but it had been brought forward to December 2017.

"Unfortunately, we had three sites out in Portobello which we hadn't quite finished because of the complexities of roading out there.

Those were completed in February, 22 months ahead of the original finish date, and the last tranche of Gigatown funding was handed out at the same time.

There was, however, another year of subsidised pricing for gig-speed internet.

"Our aim now is to encourage as many from Dunedin as possible to connect to the gig and take full advantage of it."

Digital Community Trust chairman John Gallaher said the Gigatown period had showed Dunedin it could "connect with the world in a very effective manner".

Businesses had stated "quite categorically" they were in the city because of the internet speed.

"That's been a real win for us."

Enterprise Dunedin GigCity project co-ordinator Lesley Marriott said the estimated savings to Dunedin people who had taken up gig plans came to $8.9million between June 2015 and June this year.


Before you signup for fibre connections, it is necessary to ask the service provider if they supply modems that are capable of Giga speeds. It seems that some providers are not supplying that type of modem. That is one of the reasons why some Dunedin people are not getting the broadband speeds that they were hoping for. Other possible reasons are older, slower, PCs, and old operating systems, and slow WiFi connections. Also, some providers might not use the fastest available internal networks.