Mayor backs Wanaka fibre
Community support prerequisite for $120k contribution
The Queenstown Lakes District Council will not sign off on a possible six-figure contribution to Wanaka’s ultrafast broadband programme until June 30 next year, Mayor Vanessa van Uden confirmed. The town’s business community has welcomed a funding package that will enable the town to have ultrafast broadband installed after missing out on government funding due to its size. The deal will see the council and telecommunications infrastructure company Chorus fund the next-generation fibre rollout. Chorus general manager of marketing and sales, Victoria Crone, said the financial details were confidential. "They’re funding a bit and we’re funding a bit more, " she said. Ms van Uden said there was still more work to be done to finalise the council contribution but about $120,000 had been discussed. Herself and deputy mayor Lyal Cocks had meet with the group behind the push, she said. ‘‘We support the idea and think it’s a great thing for Wanaka and we will support putting it forward to the draft annual plan for consultation with the community. The wider council has to support that and the community has to support it.’’ If it was approved, the funding would be available on July 1, next year. ‘‘The other thing that’s really cool is here’s a town that didn’t get UFB and they’ve got off their backsides and gone and found a way to do it,’’ she said. Chamber of Commerce chairman Alistair King said the rollout had the potential to change the face of Wanaka’s economy. Traditionally it had been focused on tourism and an investment in technology was seen as an opportunity to grow. "Our vision is for Wanaka to develop as a world-class innovation hub. We already have entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas living and working here. Now is the time to harness, share and promote this culture for the benefit of the town’s economy as our population continues to grow." In the first stage of the agreed plan, more than 160 central businesses, boarded by Ardmore, Dungarvon and Brownston streets, would be connected to the Chorus network by mid-2014. Stages 2 and 3 were likely to connect commercial areas around Anderson and Ballantyne roads, then outlying residential areas. The working group behind the deal was also competing in Chorus’s year-long Gigatown competition, in which the winner would be the first community in the southern hemisphere to get a onegigabit-a- second internet connection.