The gushing news reports would have us believe that everyone in Dunedin is celebrating their little corner of the world winning the much-hyped Gigatown competition but let’s be honest: it’s Chorus that should be doing all the celebrating.
This year-long marketing “competition” was a brilliant marketing ploy for the company: the lovely citizens of the various towns and cities wanting access ultra-fast broadband took part in quizzes and promotions that used the “gigatown” tag, and directly promoted Chorus. In return, they got the opportunity to be the town finally selected for the big Gigatown deal.
I’m not saying that ultra-fast broadband wouldn’t be an awesome outcome, and getting it for a while at a reduced cost is even better. And the $200,000 development fund and $500,000 community fund Chorus is offering is the icing on the cake. But really, how good is that proverbial cake? The publicity Chorus has received from this competition is phenomenal, with news stories popping up everywhere each week to keep the momentum going. How much would that level of promotion over the course of a year have cost the company? I’m betting a lot more than the probably-tax-deductible $700K they’ve stumped up for those two funds.
There’s no doubt Dunedinites will benefit from getting UFB, and getting it at a discount is not to be sneezed at. However, we already pay too much for fairly average broadband in this country so in reality, the prize is probably more of a “UFB at the price it should be” offer.
Congratulations Dunedin. And congratulations Chorus: I’m not having a dig at you guys for running a marketing campaign masquerading as a competition, because that’s how all giveaways work. However, dragging it out for an entire year or more is pretty impressive.