Local game writer Edwin McRae is part of a group of Nelsonians hell bent making Nelson ‘Gigatown’. Photo: Sinead Ogilvie.

Nelson aiming to be NZ’s first Gigatown

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Forget slow loading webpages or lagging online videos, if a group of tech savvy locals have their way Nelson will become the next “Gigatown” – with the fastest internet speed in the Southern Hemisphere.

A national competition is set to determine which New Zealand town will become the first on this side of the globe to receive one-gigabyte per second broadband speeds – up to 100 times faster than most cities around the world.

The competition, being coordinated and delivered by tele-communications company Chorus, will see towns all over the country battle it out to become Gigatown. And Nelson is already making its mark says David Brydon, who is spearheading the project. Along with other keen individuals, he’s already got the ball rolling and Nelson is currently ranked 15th in the competition which  ends next year and is judged on community involvment  via social media. “The title ‘Gigatown’ implies that you are a forward thinking technology hub and that is a major in terms of what it could do for Nelson,” says David.

He says winning the competition will bring more interest from technology companies and attract larger investments to Nelson. “High speed broadband is a major drawcard. It will bring more businesses, including more small businesses to town. Nelson also has a huge number of contractors that work over the internet and service the world. I know a number of people who are working with people around the world.”

Winning the competition would drive business and innovation in Nelson he says but it was also about the kudos that would come along with winning the title too.

Local game writer Edwin McRae who relies on the internet for his career says he is in constant contact with game developers both nationally and internationally and says he would love to see Nelson become a Gigatown. “If we did win it would certainly make life for a digital nomad like me much easier. The better the broadband the easier it is. Just having a high res skype conversation would be nice.”

David and Edwin are urging anyone who is interested in helping Nelson become the next Gigatown to come along to a meeting at the Bridge St Collective next Thursday, November 21, at 5pm.