Gigatown ‘of immense value to Oamaru’

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Funding support to help Oamaru in its quest to win a national competition that could help it become a digital hub will be considered by the Waitaki District Council at a meeting tomorrow.

Council chief executive Michael Ross is recommending that council provides $10,000 from this financial year to assist Oamaru in Gigatown, a nationwide competition being run by Chorus to encourage uptake of ultra-fast broadband.

He is also recommending that $20,000 be set aside in the 2014/15 financial plan.

The winning prize in the event is one gigabyte speed broadband to the winning town.

“This would have immense marketing and economic implications for our community if we were to win the ultimate prize,” Mr Ross said.

At present, Oamaru trails Wanaka in second place, followed by Porirua and Palmerston North.

Earlier in the month, a workshop was held in Oamaru, attended by Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher, Annabel Berry of Tourism Waitaki and local business people.

“They believe participation in the event will be of value, even if we don’t win the final prize,” Mr Ross said.

“The town with the loudest voice will be New Zealand’s first Gigatown and will be well-positioned to become a leading digital innovation hub for New Zealand, showcasing how ultra-fast broadband can redefine our economy, reshape how our children learn and change how our communities live, work and play.”

The five towns with the most points in the preliminary round will go forward to the final.

By CHRIS TOBIN