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Gigatown Wanaka thrilled to make the Gigatown finals

Gigatown Wanaka thrilled to make the Gigatown competition finals

Wanaka is buzzing with excitement at the prospect of becoming New Zealand’s first Gigatown, after being confirmed as a finalist in the Chorus competition today.

Wanaka, with a population of about 6000, has led the way for the majority of the social media-driven competition, which began in October last year.

Today, the top five towns – Wanaka, Dunedin, Gisborne, Nelson and Timaru – have been announced for the finals stage, which involves each town completing five different online and real world challenges till November 25. The winner will be announced on November 26, 2014.

The town with the most points scored over this time will receive access to a 1 Gigabit-per-second (1GBPS) internet connection at the price of entry-level broadband at 100Mbps, plus a $200,000 development fund to support online entrepreneurs and innovators.

Gigatown Wanaka’s campaign spokeswoman Kelly Good says the Wanaka community has really got behind the competition so far.

“We’ve been blown away by the local, national and international support that has helped us lead the majority of the competition, and we know our community is excited to be in the finals,” she says.

“We have a great network of talented individuals and businesspeople who have volunteered their time for our campaign so far, we have the support from Queenstown Lakes District Council, the Wanaka Chamber of Commerce and local businesses, and Wanaka residents have done a fantastic job of keeping the social media activity going. We’re a small town with a lot of determination, so it’s great to see that we have made it to the finals.”

Representatives from each finalist town will go to Chattanooga in the United States to see the transformation of a city thanks to gigabit-speed internet, before each town submits their digital strategy.

“We’ve got a clear direction of where we want to go – we want to become New Zealand’s smartest town and we believe our digital strategy will prove that Wanaka deserves to win. Fast fibre will mean economic diversity, plus great social and economic benefits for our community. We’re calling on the rest of New Zealand to get behind Wanaka in our bid to become NZ’s first Gigatown,” Good adds.

ENDS

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