7 reasons Napier is Gigatown

05 September, 2013

Could Napier be Gigatown? Yes. Should Napier be Gigatown? Absolutely. Access to bandwidth means access to jobs as the best jobs of the 21st century are knowledge based work, and that work is predominantly digital. Gigatown is the Chorus competition to light up ONE provincial town in New Zealand with 1000Mb Internet. That’s a lot of bandwidth. I look at 7 ways Napier would leverage the benefits of becoming #GigatownNapier.

1. We’re already wired up 

Chorus has worked fast in Napier and already completed a significant amount of the dig required to outlay fibre services here. The first two properties I checked both had fibre and as I write this, I’m on 100Mb download, 50Mb upload and 2ms ping from my home office.

Chorus Napier Map

2. Art Deco history – Gigatown future

As great as Art Deco is for Napier, it firmly roots our city in the past. From visiting historic cities around Europe, there’s one thing thats certain. Their economies are distorted to tourism activities at the expense of broad based economic growth opportunities. Gigatown would rebalance that for Napier and provide a counterweight to the annual excitement the retirees enjoy with Art Deco to relive their youth.

Art deco history Gigatown future

2. More UK software development 

Software development succeeds in Kiev, Ukraine for London, and Dublin, Ireland for London and data centres in Montpellier, France for London. What all these off-shored work locations have in common, is low cost labour with a fantastic lifestyle for employees. We have low cost labour in Napier and we have a fantastic lifestyle in Napier, we just don’t have off-shored work from London or a reason for our kiwi diaspora to return back here. We already have nearly 100 digital workers in the region. Just check out Digital Hawke’s Bay to meet them.


3. Telemedicine brings help to your home

The US has met the challenge of delivering health to rural locations with telemedicine solutions. It means with 21st century technologies, doctors can treat you right in your home instead of requiring you to go in for an appointment and potentially catch something else from a fellow patient in the waiting room.  This makes things far easier on people who have ongoing conditions that need checkups like diabetics, heart conditions, immobility or disability. Then one of the things that the patients can do is self medicate. These aren’t things from the future, these are things that are available right now. With the regional hospital in Hastings, this would bring back a degree of health services to Napier locals via telemedicine and shine a light on the art of the possible for the rest of New Zealand. Watch this video to understand a little more about telemedicine.


4. Live the dream, work via fibre.

80% of my clients don’t live in Hawke’s Bay. They live in Auckland, Tauranga, Rotorua, Seattle, San Francisco and London. There’s no single location that puts me in the centre of all of them, so I’ve chosen a location that puts me closer to family while keeping me close to work digital opportunities via high speed bandwidth.


4. No TV aerial, no Sky TV, no worries.

I don’t have a TV aerial and the big TV switchover last year passed me by. All of my TV I watch via fibre On Demand or via BBC iPlayer with a little digital trickery that makes the BBC think I’m still living in London. This is easy stuff to do and instantly turns watching TV into a ‘pull content to me’ experience rather than ‘push content and ads at me’.

Ted X Auckland Helen Clarke


5. Listen to music the way artists intended

Stream all the music via Spotify into any room in your house with SONOS speakers. You can listen to over 100,000 radio stations from around the world. Every new track that gets released, you get to listen to it first without ads, without downloading and without hassle. (Note: I work as SONOS NZ Marketing). Fibre makes for faster track selection, and when you’re looking for the perfect tune, that 100ms matters.

Sonos in the bedroom

6. Collaborate with colleagues and customers in cafes

Cafes are the ubiquitous meeting points for people to share ideas over coffee. Many of Hawke’s Bay’s best cafes over free wifi internet but not at high speeds. Upgrade it and make the experience better for more people simultaneously. At Ahuriri harbour in front of the Breakwater gin palace, I saw a girl perched on a concrete step using the free wifi to skype someone. That’s a fantastic leap forward thanks to NOW from just two years ago when Internet was hard to come by. I want to see us take it a level further and offer services that let tourists back up their entire NZ trip photos and videos while enjoying Napier. Bandwidth is the new destination.



7. Prepare your kids for the benefits of digital education

Already in the United States, universities offer lecture capture and replaying of key lectures for students. Students are handing in exams via video. This isn’t the future, this has already happened. The classroom has been flipped and teachers must be equipped with the right technology to make one of the most significant learning transformations of the last 2,000 years. All the knowledge is accessible on the Internet, how do we guide students to the right places and draw their own conclusions. Just ask local teacher Juliet Revell.



Rail transformed Europe in the 19th century. High speed bandwidth transformed it in in the first decade of the 21st century. Now it’s our turn. Napier for Gigatown. Art Deco is history, Gigatown is the future. Let’s get there faster.


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