Gisborne/Tairāwhiti is fighting hard to win the Chorus Gigatown competition that ends this month. Like many around the country, I’ve been a bit cynical about the way Chorus decided to start Gigabit Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) rollout and the competition hasn’t helped my feelings much.
Having said that – while some of the social media and news stories almost seem to suggest that with the gig that no one will ever cry, no one will ever die in our special community should we win – I can see some real benefits if Gisborne is successful in securing the gig speed connection first.
So as Project Manager for the Tairāwhiti Technology Trust, I’ve been keeping track of #gigatowngis social media progress and helping with the top secret ‘Plan for Gig Success’ that each of the final five ‘towns’ have to prepare and will be judged on by the country and an expert panel of judges.
As you do in such situations, I’ve been doing a little online research on the topic and found a few articles of interest related to gigabit internet services, particularly the US experience to date – and more broadly, which I am most interested in, efforts to close the Digital Divide that seems to be increasing as fast as technology develops:
- The Transformational Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Africa : African Development Bank. A milestone report suggesting Africa may leapfrog more developed countries in the information technology sectors, largely due to the lack of reliance on copper cables that ‘First World’ countries may be encumbered by.
- Technology and Inequality : MIT. A report examining why the disparity between the rich and everyone else is larger than ever in the United States and increasing in much of Europe. Concludes pretty much that new information technologies are likely to continue increasing inequalities rather than reducing them.
- Centre for Online Health : University of Queensland. A leading ‘IT for health sector’ research and development organisation.
- What Good is a Gigabit? : Huffington Post. “In the 1970s, many doubted there were uses for even 50-kilobit-per-second Internet. But soon application explorers came up with remote login, file transfer, and email.”
- Looking to Get a Gig? You Don’t Have to Wait for Google [or Chorus] to Build it : Huffington Post. An interesting article on how citizen-owned public utilities companies (like Eastland Group) can do it themselves for our communities (in the US at least).
- With Google Fiber Sign-Ups Behind Schedule, Google Lowers Pre-Registration Thresholds : TechCrunch. Article reminiscent of the NZ experience where Chorus UFB take-up where it has been available, has been much slower than hoped for (by Chorus shareholders at least).
- Users don’t want gigabit Internet speeds, Time Warner Cable exec says : PC World. Article showing how some old-school corporate execs don’t get it, or don’t want to admit that if you build it, they will come (eventually).
- What Do You Do With the World’s Fastest Internet Service? : Slate. An overview introduction to Google Fiber Space showroom in Kansas City, the first city to get Google Fiber’s 1Gbps service. A weird video too.
- FCC chief calls for gigabit Internet in all 50 states by 2015 : ComputerWorld. 2013 article outlining the US equivalent of our Minister for Communications and Information Technology wants every state to have at least one city with the gig service by next year.