Fab Labber stalks van to get work done

By Emily Norman emily.norman@age.co.nz -
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Frustrations with internet installation processes were solved by stalking a Chorus van in Masterton. PHOTO/FILE
Frustrations with internet installation processes were solved by stalking a Chorus van in Masterton. PHOTO/FILE

A director of Fab Lab Masterton chased down a Wairarapa Chorus van for answers after waiting months on end for internet installation, with seemingly no progress.

Kirsten Browne, co-founder of Fab Lab Masterton, had become so frustrated waiting for internet to be installed that she tailed the Chorus van from the Fab Lab on Chapel St to Vogel Cres in Masterton last month to get "someone to talk to on the ground".

Prior to this, the Fab Lab team had been hamstrung, resorting to using cellular data to hotspot 26 laptops for students in its classes. She said a fibre request had been put in for the building months before classes began, but that "weeks and weeks went past" and still nothing had been done.

"We're a bit of a special case because in our part of the building we didn't even have dial-up, we had nothing, no internet, zilch and there was this huge need for something because we had students coming in," she said. "I could see immediately in the first week of classes that I needed to speed the fibre installation process up, so that day I chased a Chorus van.

I literally chased a Chorus van all the way from here down to Vogel Cres in my car."

When the van pulled up she spoke with staff from Chorus and ultrafast broadband contractor Downer, who "could see that classes were coming in and that something had to change really quickly".

After initially being told fibre installation would take almost a year, just two weeks and two days later the Fab Lab was up and running with ultrafast broadband thanks to the "local heroes", Ms Browne said.

"It almost killed me but all these contractors and companies involved in the multi-step process to get fibre, they all really came through," she said.

Ms Browne said staff from Chorus, Downer, Spark, Enzec, Tech Solutions and Get Wired Electrical worked tirelessly "and in their own time" to get fibre installed as soon as possible for the Fab Lab, which provides Wairarapa students with a hands-on learning experience of digital fabrication technology.

"It's a good news story in the end," she said, and Fab Lab was now fully equipped with fibre.

"It wouldn't have worked if it was just someone who just wanted their house hooked up, or even someone else who wanted their business hooked up to fibre but already had internet.

"We had that special case because we had absolutely no internet and students were coming in for classes."

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