New Zealand's smart approach to smart cities (hint: UFB)

Fri, 2014-08-22 06:00 -- Liz Enbysk

New Zealand is a third of the way into a government-supported UltraFast Broadband (UFB) network that will ultimately reach 33 cities and towns – or about 75% of the population.

A network strategy manager for Chorus, one of the companies building out the fiber network, tells The New Zealand Herald that by design, one by-product of the UFB network will be the opportunity to build smart cities and towns.

"Knowing that the network will arrive and will stretch down every street gives council planners and civic leaders a degree of certainty to plan smart city initiatives," Kurt Rodgers told the Herald. "In effect the government has taken away any doubt about whether the infrastructure and capacity will be there to deliver smart city services."

The build-out is about a third of the way done with completion slated for 2019. When finished, there will be fiber down every street in the 33 communities. As Rodgers explained, the goal is to connect all schools, hospitals, office and homes.

"But once it's built," he told the Herald, "we can go beyond that connecting traffic lights, bus stops, wi-fi hotspots and just about anything else."

Noting that New Zealand is still in the early stages of smart city development, the story points to the economic benefits that Chattanooga, Tennessee realized after it piggy-backed ultra-fast broadband on its smart grid.

Read more about the critical role high-speed broadband plays in every aspect of a smart city in the Smart Cities Readiness Guide (available as a free download for registered members of  the Council). Learn how you can join SCC for free.

More from New Zealand…

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'Gigatown' competition pits NZ cities against each