The Gigatown Competition in New Zealand: competition as digital infrastructure allocation?

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Abstract

The Gigatown Competition (2013-2015) was a joint initiative between the telecommunications company Chorus and the New Zealand government to award a New Zealand town ‘the fastest internet in the Southern Hemisphere’ through a social media competition. Towns accrued points based on the volume of social media content related to the Competition and the benefits of ultra-fast broadband (UFB). I undertake a discourse analysis of select promotional materials and participation in the Competition to show how support for UFB as a necessary infrastructure for the New Zealand economy was achieved. I argue the Gigatown initiative mobilises a form of community participation in information and communications technologies (ICT) infrastructure premised on urban centres and towns competing against one another for their future viability. The success of the Competition and enthusiastic participation of towns in South Island can be contextualised by the governing and economic rationalities of urban austerity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-61
Number of pages14
JournalMedia International Australia
Volume168
Issue number1
Early online date17 Jul 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2018

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