Masterton embraces ultra-fast broadband
Masterton is off to a good start in a race to win the fastest broadband speed in the Southern Hemisphere.
It is currently in the top 10 leaderboard in Chorus's Welcome to Gigatown social media competition which started on Labour Day.
If Masterton wins, residents will get one gigabit per second broadband speeds - up to 100 times faster than most cities around the world.
"It's a really amazing chance to transform Masterton into an economic hub, and it has spin-off benefits for Wairarapa as a whole in how we deliver health care and community services," said John Hart, project leader for Gigatown Masterton.
Masterton's future could look quite different, he said.
"It's kind of a big deal as the whole town gets it.
"Apart from the glory and fame of being a Gigatown, everyone in Masterton who has internet connected to ultra-fast broadband [UFB] would get it at the gigabit speed."
There would be no extra cost for the faster speed either, said Mr Hart.
"As well as this, there is a $200,000 grant to help foster new businesses."
He said many other towns around the world have benefited from having this speed of internet.
"I really think it will bring people here, and attract people who rely on that sort of infrastructure for their businesses."
While Masterton is not at the top of the table, in fifth place, it is a year-long competition so maintaining the momentum will be a key task for Mr Hart.
"It's very much a marathon, not a sprint, our plan is to build a monthly campaign, collecting all the ways how to best use the one gigabit UFB."
He said a campaign website is on the way to help promote Masterton's bid with events and competitions.
Keen social media users have been earning 'Gigapoints' on sites like Facebook and Twitter, racking up 16,064 points, as of 1pm Friday.
If Masterton gets enough points to be in the top five towns by September 2014, it will go on to compete for the winning spot.
Chorus will take a representative from the five finalist towns to the US town of Chattanooga in Tennessee, which has one gigabit fibre broadband, to see how it has transformed the city, propelling it to the number one city in the US for economic growth potential.
To win points, social media users champion their town's campaign using pre-defined #Gigatown hashtags.
Each piece of content hashtagged #GigatownMTN will earn Masterton Gigapoints, as will each subsequent share, like, re-tweet or comment.
Chorus general manager marketing and sales Victoria Crone said the race aims to spark innovation and harness the potential of UFB to transform New Zealand.
"The vision for Gigatown is to create a leading digital innovation hub for New Zealand which showcases how ultra-fast broadband will re-define our economy, reshape how our children learn and change how our communities live, work and play," said Ms Crone.
More information on how to take part in the competition can be found at www.facebook.com/GigatownMasterton.