The news, announced by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment last week, is the culmination of years of relationship building and engagement between the Ignite Wanaka Chamber of Commerce, Centre of Unique Business Excellence (The Cube), Chorus, Ministry of Communications and Crown Fibre Holdings.
Ignite Wanaka Chamber Chair Alistair King said initially Wanaka was not earmarked for fibre until about 2024.
“During the Gigatown campaign we said to supporters and the Wanaka community that we’d campaign Government and Chorus to get fibre across the rest of Wanaka. It’s taken a lot of work but we’ve now achieved that goal and delivered on our promise,” King says.
During the Gigatown campaign in 2014 Wanaka had the highest level of engagement of any community in the competition (supporters per head of population) and achieved exceptional levels of support from the community, businesses and volunteers.
In 2016, following continued post-Gigatown collaboration and community engagement, Chorus provided a GIG of speed to The Cell in Wanaka, giving the business community access to UFB for the first time.
Chorus’ relationship and support of Gigatown and business development in the Wanaka District also extended to support, advice, sponsorship of the Ignite Wanaka Business Awards and assistance with Co-Starters – a nine week entrepreneurs course at The Cell.
Fibre across Wanaka will bring communications up to speed with cities across the country, enhancing Wanaka’s competitiveness as an exceptional place to do business.
The CUBE Business Development Manager Jason Watkins echoes King’s thoughts.
“Wanaka has a large community of people who work from home and we’ve suffered with slow internet speeds for some time. The announcement is great news and will help increase business and personal productivity as well as income and job opportunities. While this is a huge achievement after years of conversations, we’re eager to get confirmation of a commencement date for actual works to begin in the District and hope the Upper Clutha project will get underway as soon as is practical,” King says.
“The sooner the works begin, the quicker the community can get access to high speed services and ultimately that is what we all want.”
“Access to high speed internet is commonplace in many populated areas of New Zealand, but is unavailable to a large majority of the business community in the Upper Clutha. This not only presents a barrier to everyday connectivity and business activities, but also limits our potential to sustainably develop our district.
“The UFB2 announcement is a giant stride in the right direction for increasing the capability of businesses and ensuring Wanaka’s success,” Watkins says.