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New Zealand to decide ‘Gigatown’ winner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
28.10.2013


New Zealand to decide ‘Gigatown’ winner

The race is on to determine which New Zealand town will win the fastest broadband speeds in the southern hemisphere in Chorus’s Welcome to Gigatown competition.

From today, Labour Day 2013, New Zealanders the world over will take to social media to tweet, like and share their views on why their favourite town should win access to 1Gbps internet services for three years.

Chorus General Manger Marketing and Sales, Victoria Crone says the race for Gigatown aims to spark innovation and mobilise the potential of ultra-fast broadband (UFB) to transform New Zealand.

“The vision for Gigatown is to create a leading digital innovation hub for New Zealand which showcases how ultra-fast broadband will re-define our economy, reshape how our children learn and change how our communities live, work and play,” says Crone.
At the end of the year-long competition, ng Connect, the open innovation program founded by Alcatel-Lucent, together with Chorus will also commit to a $200k development fund for the winning Gigatown. This fund will cover the commercialisation of new services over gigabit fibre for entrepreneurs and innovators in Gigatown, with a focus on developing new services to take to market.

To win points for their chosen town, New Zealanders will need to take to social media and champion their town’s campaign using pre-defined #Gigatown hashtags. Each piece of hash-tagged content will earn Gigapoints, as will each subsequent share, like, re-tweet or comment.

Gigatown is supported by a website that measures, displays and champions each town’s Gigatown content, and includes a leader board tallying the Gigapoints scored by competing towns.

Approximately fifty towns are pre-registered to compete, with areas of Auckland and Wellington split into “towns” within cities.

As some towns have larger populations than others, an adjustment factor will be applied to enable an even playing field for smaller communities. All the competition rules are available at www.gigatown.co.nz.

Victoria Crone says there has been a fantastic response from local councils and other stakeholders since announcing the Gigatown concept in September.

“It’s great to see how much enthusiasm there is for the potential of UFB to transform our communities and boost economic growth.”

In September 2014, the top five towns will become Gigatown finalists and all scores will be reset to zero before the final round of competition commences.

During the finals, Chorus will take a representative from the five finalist towns to Chattanooga so they can see firsthand how gigabit broadband has transformed the city, propelling it to number one in the US for economic growth potential.

For more information on Gigatown visit: www.gigatown.co.nz

ENDS
FAQs
1. What towns are eligible to take part?
The ‘towns’ taking part in our Gigatown competition are all areas where Chorus is deploying fibre to bring ultra-fast broadband services within reach of Kiwi homes and businesses. To see a full list of the competing towns visit www.gigatown.co.nz
2. What does the winning town get?
The winning town gets the chance to become the first in the southern hemisphere to access a 1Gbps internet connection at the same wholesale price as the entry level fibre product. In the vast majority of cases there is minimal cost to consumers to get a fibre to the premise connection installed. The winning town will also receive an innovation fund of $200,000 to enable it to explore and utilise the opportunity that gigabit broadband service brings. This fund is co-sponsored by Chorus and Alcatel Lucent’s ng Connect Programme.
3. What services will be available in the winning town?
The services available to homes and businesses will be designed by retail broadband providers and it will be up to them to decide the full details of the services. The Gigatown Wholesale Service will be a ‘best efforts’ service with a headline downstream speed of 1 Gigabit per second (1Gbps) across the Chorus access network. This is the peak speed attainable in the access network, but is not necessarily representative of the actual speeds that the end user will receive all the time. More information is available at www.gigatown.co.nz.
4. Why is the competition winner being chosen by social media?
We want New Zealanders to decide where the world’s next digital innovation hub should be and we looking for the place that wants it the most. There are two ways we’ll be measuring that drive, enthusiasm and determination to be Gigatown:
1. by listening out for the town with the loudest voice on social media; and
2. by tallying up the supporters for each town signing up on this website.
5. What are the supporter’s networks?
The supporter’s networks are a great way to get more involved in the Gigatown competition. Regular newsletters will keep you up to date with how your town is tracking, and will provide advice on how leverage your town’s campaign. In addition, every supporter signing up for their town’s supporter’s network earns 10 points for their town.
6. Won’t larger towns have an advantage over smaller towns?
In the first of the two rounds of the Gigatown competition social media and supporters network points will be counted for each town and then multiplied by a correction factor to become ‘Gigapoints’. The correction factor is based on the town’s size, to ensure that each eligible town has the same opportunity to be the Gigatown. The number of ‘Gigapoints’ will be displayed on the Gigatown website, so participants can keep track of each town’s progress.
7. What is the timeframe for the competition?
The initial round of the competition starts at 12am on 28 October 2013 and ends at 5pm on 30 September 2014.The five eligible towns with the most points at the end of the initial round will go forward to the finals.
8. How do the finals work?
On 30 September 2014 the top five towns will become Gigatown finalists. All scores will be reset to zero and the finalist towns will then compete to collect the most points before the competition closes. During the finals, Chorus will take a representative from the five finalist towns to Chattanooga so they can see firsthand how gigabit fibre broadband has transformed the city, propelling it to the number one city in the US for economic growth potential. The final round won’t be prorated for town population in order to encourage all of New Zealand to help choose Gigatown. Chorus will publicly announce the winning Gigatown at the end of the competition final, likely to be in December 2014.
9. How long will it take for the winning town to get connected to the 1Gbps connection?
Chorus is rolling out fibre to around 70% of the ultra-fast broadband footprint across New Zealand, in a programme of work that’s scheduled to be completed at the end of 2019. To ensure we meet our commitments around the country Chorus will continue to build the fibre network for ultra-fast broadband according to our planned schedule – even in the town that wins our Gigatown competition. Chorus’ network availability map www.chorus.co.nz/maps provides indicative information on when UFB services will be available at a particular address.
10. What if I have a business broadband line?
Chorus is working to define the wholesale service available to businesses in the winning Gigatown, and we will confirm details during the competition. The services available to businesses will be designed by retail broadband providers and it will be up to them to decide the full details of the services and costs.
1. What kind of benefits can the winning community expect to experience from a 1Gbps connection?
A 1Gbps connection will radically improve the speed and capacity of broadband internet networks leading to increased efficiency, convenience and productivity. Numerous studies show that a strong link exists between broadband growth and economic and social development. The winning town will be well positioned to become a leading digital innovation hub for New Zealand.
2. How do you power a town with 1 Gbps internet?
New Zealand’s high speed UFB plans are based on GPON technology which is capable of delivering downlink speeds of up to 1Gpbs. The Chorus UFB network uses the same GPON technology as many other fibre broadband operators around the world, including EPB in Chattanooga, which currently offers end users internet plans of up to 1 Gbps.
3. What happened in Chattanooga?
Chattanooga is a town in Tennessee, USA that credits gigabit technology with one of the major contributors to the transformation of its economy. Previously shamed as one of the most polluted and unliveable cities in America, Chattanooga was one of the first cities in the world to roll out a fibre to the premise (FTTP) network that offered gigabit connection speeds to homes and businesses. This has been credited with playing a role in attracting a swell of economic investment into Chattanooga, including the expansion of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant and the establishment of Amazon.com facilities. Chattanooga has also become a digital innovation centre that is driving development of next generation fibre applications.
Chattanooga’s fibre optic network has been emulated by a handful of other cities in the US and it is studied internationally as a model of how to build the smart cities of the future.
4. Why is industry collaboration and innovation so essential for ensuring the success of UFB in New Zealand?
A study by Alcatel-Lucent’s research and innovation engine, BellLabs, entitled Building the Benefits of Broadband: How New Zealand can increase the social & economic impacts of high-speed broadband, calculates that the economic benefits UFB and high-speed applications can bring to New Zealand will amount to $32.8 billion over 20 years. However, this development is dependent on innovation, ubiquity and momentum. ‘Welcome to Gigatown’ will not only support a New Zealand town to fast-track its fibre future, it will provide insight as to how we can address all of these conditions. One of the key goals of the competition is to stimulate new innovation and business models through encouraging collaboration between NZ companies. The challenge is to get towns thinking about what they are going to do to embrace fibre, how they will build new local businesses and services, and make their towns attractive places to live, invest in and work.

5. How did you choose the areas for Auckland and Wellington?
Auckland City is competing in individual electorate areas, with just one exception - the Auckland Central electorate area is competing as two ‘towns’:
Auckland Downtown - includes Auckland CBD, Downtown and Westhaven Marina
Auckland Central – includes the suburbs of Freemans Bay, St Mary’s Bay, Herne Bay, Westmere, Ponsonby, Grey Lynn, Waiheke and Newton.
Wellington City is competing in our competition in its three electorate areas, with the following adjustment:
Ohariu – the Ohariu Gigatown competition area is as the Ohariu electorate with the addition of Linden and Greenacres but excluding Korokoro, Maungaraki, Normandale and Tirohanga (which are competing as part of Hutt City).
We chose to base the competition on electorate areas in Auckland and Wellington because they are a good size, most people know which electorate they belong to and the area boundaries are already drawn. In discussions with local councils, we agreed that this method was the most easy and straightforward for the competition to work. If you aren’t sure what electorate you live in you can find out at http://www.elections.org.nz/voters/find-my-electorate

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