TheBigUpgrade website showcases UFB stories

TheBigUpgrade website showcases UFB stories
The Big Upgrade, A new website and online video series by Socialize Media is designed to show Kiwis what's possible with ultrafast broadband.

Online video and content specialist Socialize Media has created a website to show Kiwis the potential for society to benefit from the ultrafast broadband rollout. The Big Upgrade encourages organisations to share their experiences using the infrastructure and categorises these into business, education, health, agriculture and Maori.

Socialize partner Steve Adams says the idea was sparked by research from Alcatel Lucent-owned Bell Labs which showed economic activity generated by ultrafast broadband and the Rural Broadband Initiative would grow our GDP by $5.5 billion in the 20 years from 2012, with $33 billion in savings from more efficient use of online.

"We saw that there's this massive story and a huge public works programme going on," says Adams. "We were looking at that and the fact that rollout has really started to kick in. We thought that people just don't know what they can do with this stuff."

Socialize talked with organisations that came on board as partners, including Crown Fibre Holdings, Alcatel Lucent, Xero, Vend, Chorus, Ultrafast Fibre, Enable, Huawei, Northpower and AUT.

"We found this common interest in getting these stories out there and there seemed sense in having a common platform rather than all these businesses telling their own stories," Adams says.

Socialize has produced its first set of videos in conjunction with Chorus, which AUT students helped film and edit. It plans to produce more in Waikato and Christchurch with Ultrafast Fibre and Enable.

The site has been soft launched using social media: The Big Upgrade has a Tumblr blog and accounts on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Chorus, contracted to complete the UFB rollout, has been embattled after the Commerce Commission ordered the price of copper broadband be cut and opposition parties rallied against the government intervening in the commission's directive. However, it says it's committed to the rollout and is on target to finish by 2020.

About 20 percent has been finished, with adoption in the low single figures.