After a 13 month long competition run by Fibre Optic Lines provider Chorus, Dunedin beat 49 other towns to be named New Zealand's first Gigatown. But what is Gigatown?
Gigatown - What has Dunedin won?
Gigatown was a competition where the winner would receive internet speeds of 1gigabit per second - giving it the fastest internet in the Southern Hemisphere. Gigabit connectivity is approximately 100x faster than standard home broadband, or 10x faster than Ultra Fast Broadband (100mbps). Dunedin was announced as the winner on Wednesday 26 November 2014, and the first gigabit connections are scheduled to be activated in February 2015. Priority will be given to places that will benefit the entire community such as public hospitals, schools, the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic, libraries, and other community outlets.
However the prize also enables Dunedin residents, who have, or who will get fibre installed in their street to be able to access gigabit speeds at home. You can check when your street will get fibre installed by visiting the Chorus website. Chorus is the lines provider, not an Internet Service Provider (ISP) so you will need to contact your ISP to determine the cost of a gigabit connected plan, but Chorus have promised Dunedin wholesale rates for the first three years of service.
As the winner Dunedin also receives:
- $200,000 development fund to support entrepreneurs/innovators who utilise gigabit connectivity.
- $500,000 community fund to kick-start community gigabit developments.
What does this mean for you?
As a student at the University of Otago winning Gigatown should mean that you will experience never seen before (in NZ on a citywide scale) internet download and upload speeds. This will help you at your residential college or in your flat. You will be able to say goodbye to Youtube or TV OnDemand services that lag, or cut out. Streaming will be seamless. This will also be true for skyping friends and family around the world. A gigabit connection will enable smooth uninterrupted High Definition experience. Working in the cloud will be fast and part of every day life.
Your educational experience at the University of Otago is bound to change as well. High Def video uploaded to Blackboard, streamed lectures, remote access to resources, real time video conferencing with international experts from around the world. The benefits to education are huge, and to be honest we don't even know what many of the benefits will be yet.
Young minds combined with the expertise of University academics, entrepreneurial startup support, and financial investment that Dunedin city hopes to attract, will help unlock the full potential of gigabit connectivity. What gigabit connectivity does do for the University of Otago is that it makes it even more attractive to potential students and researchers from not only around New Zealand, but from around the world.
Winning gigabit connectivity is just the start. Now students, researchers, current and future business leaders have the chance to dream, to explore, and to harness the power of the Gig.
What are others saying about winning gigabit connectivity?
Scott Cardwell, Marketing Manager at Language & Education Perfect - Giga speeds make staying a easy decision
James Koers, General Manager, SnapRetail (ISP) - Dunedin to be the fastest test case
Stewart Fleming, Managing Director, Wicked Networks - There will be flexibility to do anything from anywhere
Mike Shirley, Managing Director, Orcon - Gigabit speed means end to slow streaming
Professor Harlene Hayne, Vice-Chancellor, University of Otago - Huge benefits seen for Dunedin