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Council staff leading the way to Gigatown

Council staff leading the way to Gigatown

The chance to surge into third place in the nationwide Gigatown competition has seen Gisborne District Council staff signing up to support Gisborne on mass. They are not the only ones. Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti, Te Runanga-o-Turanganui-a-kiwa, and Tourism Eastland are all working with staff to ensure large numbers of sign ups in the next few days.

The Gigatown competition will see one town win the fastest internet speeds in the southern hemisphere. Over the next couple of days a mini competition is being run. The town with the most new supporters before midnight Tuesday 28 January will be awarded 75,000 gigapoints.

This would put us in third place, says Mayor Meng Foon. “We need everyone to get their friends, family, friends of friends, cousins of cousins and your great auntie’s next door neighbour to sign up to support Gisborne for us to win.”
“The aim is to get 95% of Council staff signed up to support Gisborne by Tuesday evening. It’s really easy and only takes a couple of minutes.”

“The benefits of having super fast broadband before everyone else could be huge. Imagine the opportunities for Gisborne businesses if the best and brightest technology minds came to Gisborne. This would create an economic development boom and bring leading-edge, well paid jobs into the region.”

That was certainly been the case in Chattanooga in the United States. It is the the poster child for what fast broadband can do to regenerate a community. A group of developers and designers realised they could contribute to the global economy from any place that had the right communications networks. Gigabit fibre was installed three years ago and since then the population has increased, start-incubators have launched and one of America’s largest web design schools has set up shop.
“That’s why Council and ECT have put money towards supporting Gisborne’s bid. The only way we will get there is by bringing our whole community along with us. This is not a Council project or even a Chorus project, it is a community project.”

There are other benefits even if Gisborne doesn’t win says planning and performance manager Harley Dibble. “Social media is now a part of many people’s lives. We are taking the Gigatown opportunity to understand how Council staff are using social media and offer training sessions for those who want to get social but are not quite here yet. We have recently boosted Council’s social media presence with twitter and instagram. Social media is an increasingly important tool to engage with our community. We don’t want staff to get left behind.”

“Council employs a number of Gisborne university students as interns over the summer. We have asked some of them to help us sign up staff as supporters and get staff familiar with the social media platforms they are most interested in.”
Gisborne is currently sitting 6th out of 50 towns and cities. Gisborne needs to be in the top five towns by September to progress to the final stage.


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