Draft regional digital strategy released
14 September 2016, Andrew Ashton, The Gisborne Herald
Download the draft digital strategy here:
Almost two years after it was first suggested, Gisborne District Council has finally released a draft regional development strategy that puts forward the council’s vision to increase productivity and improve the quality of life “in the region and beyond”.
The strategy envisioned creating an environment by 2021 where “resourceful, resilient and creative Tairawhiti people” can become confident users and innovative creators of digital technologies and content.
It also aimed to improve accessibility of digital infrastructure, improve digital literacy and foster economic development through a strong digital sector.
As part of a large range of suggested actions, which would be assessed for viability, a steering group will identify the most remote communities with low rates of household internet connection and produce a plan to create ‘access hotspots” at marae or other venues to provide those communities with wireless internet.
The strategy also suggested internet service providers be approached to provide subsidised high-speed internet payment plans to those in the region’s lowest socioeconomic areas.
A ‘digital business hub’ could also be created to generate the creation of a local centre of digital excellence for businesses.
Libraries leading digital services
It also envisioned Tairawhiti libraries becoming a provider of “world-leading” digital library services through the creation of a “library without walls”.
The draft RDS was spun out of the Gigatown ‘‘Plan for Gig Success’’, intended to identify gigabit initiatives that would enhance the digital, community and economic development of Gisborne, if it was successful in winning the Chorus-sponsored competition.
A major part of that community-devised plan was to connect 1000 low socio economic homes to broadband by 2017 - that has also made it through to the council’s draft strategy., and could be implemented through the Computer in Homes programme, which provides an internet connection and subsidised access, device with software, training and support.
The original Plan for Gig success was judged the best in New Zealand at the time and although Gisborne did not win the whole competition, GDC chief executive Judy Campbell and Mayor Meng Foon pledged at the end of the Gigatown competition that a digital strategy would still be implemented.
The council took responsibility for the strategy in house in May last year, before a draft version was presented to the regional economic development agency.
Activate Tairawhiti chief executive Steve Breen said the agency had circulated it for comment in the first instance to the original digital steering group.
“Activate is reviewing the draft strategy and gathering steering group feedback to provide back to council. We welcome comment from all other interested parties and have put the council’s draft strategy on the Activate website and invite comment by Friday, September 30.”