QUEENSTOWN has stormed into the finals placings in a competition to win the best internet in the southern hemisphere.
The town is now placed fifth in the Gigatown contest – after tripling its points total in three weeks.
The new placing is significant as the top five towns by September go into a final where their points are reset to zero.
Telecommunications giant Chorus is offering the winning New Zealand locality a one-gigabit-per-second (1Gbps) internet connection.
Queenstown was placed tenth with 90,000 points in late January. It now has more than 280,000.
Tech expert Anthony Mason – part of the team spearheading Queenstown’s campaign – says: “We’re obviously delighted.
“We’re excited with the amount of traction we’re getting while still having so many cool fantastic ideas in our back pocket ready to go.
“There’s goodwill across the board – it’s just a question of how fast we can reach out to people.”
Points are accrued when people sign up to the Chorus Gigatown website or use special hashtags on social media.
Chorus also awards bonus points for mini-competitions.
The most recent asked people to submit ‘Instagram’ photos illustrating how a 1Gbps connection would improve their home life.
Queenstown won and was awarded 75,000 points.
And the resort scored an extra 1000 after Ben De Haan – the team’s Facebook co-ordinator – submitted a photo of his balding head.
“In the home of the future via the internet at UFB speeds my house would place a 3D holographic over my head to give the illusion it had hair and I could relive days gone by!” De Haan says.
Queenstown is now about 30,000 points ahead of sixth-placed Gisborne and 50,000 behind Timaru in fourth.
Wanaka leads the way with more than 870,000 points. The winning Gigatown will get the fastest and best (volume) internet in the country, with costs subsidised to the same as normal ultrafast broadband for three years.
Chorus will also plunge $200,000 into the town for development.
Mason says victory could spark an economic boom with an influx of software and technology firms.