Friday, 1st December, 2017

In the first quarter of the year Marlborough Chamber of Commerce began discussions with Network Tasman and Marlborough District Council, looking to see if we could provide fast fibre connections in Marlborough.

With the #Gigatown competition that has been running over the year we could see that while it was a fun project for ~2000 fans to work on engaging conversation around fast fibre and overtaking other regions on points at different times, it was also a start to create awareness of fast fibre. Unfortunately #Gigatownbln did not get the support that a number of other regions did – namely those regions having funds available to give the project a push from the beginning but also the whole community engagement from local councils, the business district and the people in the community.

Network Tasman has already invested over $2m in connecting fibre optic cabling and equipment in Marlborough to enable businesses in particular to be connected to this very fast facility. 
General manager Hamish Macfarlane said, “Now we have an opportunity to make that fibre FASTER”. It does require further investment of $180K which is a fraction of the cost of what has already been spent.

Hamish Macfarlane also says, “New Zealand is the top country in the world to have businesses connected to “CLOUD” and Marlborough has the highest number of users in the country”.

What does that mean? 
Many of our local businesses are using Cloud based software products every day to do business.

What could make it better?
Faster connectivity. The download and upload speeds need to be faster to enable staff to achieve higher productivity. Chamber feels faster connectivity would attract businesses to the area, such as design firms who can work from anywhere, but do need fast connectivity for their programmes.

So what is the delay?
Hamish Macfarlane says, “Marlborough Chamber of Commerce had discussions with Marlborough District Council as we felt the fibre optic proposal integrated with their Smart and Connected policy. It made economic sense to get the faster connection to our region and be one of the first in New Zealand to be connected with faster speed. These discussions are still ongoing and we are hoping for a successful outcome soon. Initially we will be able to have 1GB of speed, but this system will have the capacity, at no extra cost, of being able to increase to 5-10 GB in the next 5-10 years. This expenditure would also future-proof us for the foreseeable future”.

Blenheim’s urban areas are also connected by Chorus’ fibre through UFB which has now been delivered to most businesses and residential homes within the Blenheim area. A further advantage of the fibre optic extension will be faster connections through our rural community, right from Awatere and Ward, through Waihopai and Wairau Valleys, taking in Tuamarina and Havelock as well. This already operates, but increasing the speed will also allow faster connectivity to all of these regions – very necessary for wineries to operate.

For more information please contact
Hamish Macfarlane – General Manager 03 577 9576 
Nikki de Reeper - President 0274 194 894Faster