Porirua in ‘Gigatown’ frenzy
A frenzy of hashtags has put Porirua in the running to get the southern hemisphere’s fastest broadband internet.
Porirua is currently in second place in Chorus’ ‘‘Gigatown’’ competition, which pits New Zealand towns against each other to find the most vocal on social media.
To gain points, residents need to register at the Gigatown website and use the hashtag #gigatownporirua on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and other social sites.
On the first day of competition last Wednesday, Porirua pulled ahead of 46 cities, towns and suburbs to clinch second place, behind Oamaru. After taking top place on Thursday, Porirua slipped to second place, 25,000 points behind Oamaru.
Chorus will award the winning town internet at the speed of one gigabit per second, hundreds of times faster than regular broadband.
Residents will get the service at a special price, and Chorus will give $200,000 to foster entrepreneurs taking advantage of the internet speeds.
Porirua will need to keep up its enthusiasm, because Gigatown is a year-long competition. The top five towns will be chosen on September 14, 2014, and scores will be reset to zero, no doubt sparking a hashtag hysteria to get over the finishing line.
Mayor Nick Leggett has wholeheartedly endorsed the campaign, saying Porirua deserved to win as the youngest and most diverse city in the country.
‘‘Everyone I talk to, even in Wellington, calls it a no brainer. Porirua was custom-made for this kind of innovation,’’ he said.
Mr Leggett has made a YouTube video explaining what high-speed internet would mean for Porirua.
‘‘Every kid in Porirua needs to grow up a digital native. Every business needs access to the best technology on offer to help them grow and create jobs,’’ he said.
‘‘Every entrepreneur who calls Porirua home should have worldclass digital technology right at their doorstep.
‘‘ We will enlist schools, businesses, sporting clubs, community groups and households to spread the message ... that Porirua City is ideally placed to make the most of next generation broadband.’’
Mr Leggett said Chorus would offer the cheap broadband deal for several years.
Though much of Porirua would be with fibre-optic cable by next year, Mr Leggett said he hoped to convince Chorus to lay fibre cables to every household if Porirua won.