We’re just back from the gig city that is Chattanooga in Tennessee where we spent a fantastic week with the #Gigatown teams from Dunedin, Gisborne, Nelson, Timaru and Wanaka.

Chattanooga is a cool little town doing big things with gigabit fibre. The gig infrastructure is great/amazing/awesome (feel free to add your own adjective) but the power and finesse lies in a combination of vital ingredients.

Chorus is providing the wholesale 1Gbps ultra-fast broadband service in the winning Gigatown for three years… but there’s a few other things that the winning Gigatown will need to think about, if it’s to activate the full potential of the gig and create a living lab for next generation broadband services and applications in New Zealand…

Fibre gigabit technology: Gigabit services and applications over fibre optic cables deliver phenomenal broadband speeds and capacity. The beauty of this is that it fuels innovation by providing a bigger potential surface area for exploring, building, connecting on the web. And there’s a lot of exploring of this gigabit technology to be had. Chattanooga is still figuring out how to fully leverage the gig and one of the ways it does this is to connect to organisations with the same goals. US Ignite, for example, is a non-profit organisation that fosters the creation of next-generation Internet applications. It has a goal of creating 200 gig cities in America in the next five years. Time and time again in Chattanooga we heard how envious they were of New Zealand’s emerging national fibre network.

A supportive entrepreneurial start-up culture: In Chattanooga, they call collaboration their “secret sauce” and refer to it as “The Chattanooga Way.” People actively facilitate and encourage connection with like-minded people and it has created a positive entrepreneurial hub in Chattanooga where people feel supported by the community and encouraged to succeed.

A collaborative community lined-up behind similar goals: There’s a core group of people in Chattanooga focussed single-mindedly on making the most of gigabit infrastructure for business and the community so that Chattanooga gains socially and economically. Innovation and collaboration is driven by what’s good for the local community, as well as what boosts the bottom line.

A focus on finding solutions to everyday problems: The Chattanooga gig community is committed to making their city more liveable and attractive for people and businesses and this is reflected in the types of businesses, applications and services that you see developing around the gigabit infrastructure. They often use a reverse pitch approach to problems – taking a problem to a group of experts and asking them to pitch their solution.

Play to your strengths: There is a lot of talk in Chattanooga about leveraging your heritage, building on your strengths and helping businesses both new and old succeed on the back of the digital economy.

We’d love to hear what you think the winning Gigatown will need to do to create its own “secret sauce” that will successfully showcase the potential of gigabit infrastructure and the true power of the internet for New Zealand.



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  1. Dunedin needs to continue to advertise itself & its lifestyle -close to skifields,beaches, small & larger industries- Otago University with a marvellous research base.

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