DCC Media Release – Consulting on draft digital communication strategy

Dunedin City Council
Media release

Have Your Say On Dunedin’s Digital Future

Last reviewed: 10 Jun 2010 3:45pm

Subject to approval at next Tuesday’s meeting of the Council’s Economic Development committee, plans for the city’s digital future will take another step towards realisation by inviting the public to comment on the draft strategy.

The draft strategy is a plan to provide for the digital communication needs of businesses, residents and visitors across all areas: commerce, information, education, healthcare and community services. ??Now, after extensive consultation with a wide range of community, academic and business groups the Council has completed the initial stage of developing a comprehensive digital strategy for the city.

The strategy itself takes a lead from central government’s digital vision, which recognises the need to balance higher connection speeds with the availability of services, greater confidence and enhanced capability on the part of users.

So far the draft strategy puts it ahead of all the other main centres in New Zealand – a fact widely commented on by the national media.

The strategy is both an exciting opportunity for the city, and an urgently needed plan to provide Dunedin with essential contemporary infrastructure.

It is now time for the whole community to have a say on the draft strategy either by making a formal submission or completing a website survey. The digital strategy website will go live on 16 June 2010.

To participate, go to www.dunedin.govt.nz/dunedin-digital-strategy after that date.

Cr Dave Cull, who has chaired the steering committee in identifying a strategy, says “It is important that this continues to be a community-driven project which responds to the needs of the whole community it will eventually serve – which is why we now need to find out what the public thinks about what we have come up with.”

Contact DCC on 477 4000.

DCC Link

Post by Elizabeth Kerr

9 Comments

Filed under Design, Economics, Geography, Media, People, Project management, Urban design

9 responses to “DCC Media Release – Consulting on draft digital communication strategy

  1. Stu

    Please read this, comment on it, make a submission, tell people about it. Most important, get behind it so that we can start to generate critical mass of people doing stuff in Dunedin to take to the rest of the world.

    Have spent a lot of time on this :-) And it’s already had a lot of input from many groups across the city. Will be fascinating to see what level of public submissions come back now for it to be reshaped.

  2. anon

    For me, I’d question why in the strategy the DCC seems to want to put itself in a governance position over private business interests either in relationship to free WiFi in the CBD and to the development of ICT innovation businesses. It seem a case of government finding a need to govern.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Sat, 12 Jun 2010
      ‘Digital Dunedin’ draft imminent
      By David Loughrey
      The development of Dunedin’s digital infrastructure is essential for the city, and the need to complete a strategy for the future is urgent, Dunedin City councillor Dave Cull says. That strategy is about to be released in draft form for public consultation, and is planned to work alongside the Government’s deployment of broadband infrastructure across the country.
      Read more

  3. Looking at the “Digital Strategy” documents in more detail, it seems to me that it is going to be yet another example of Dunedin City Council empire-building: the expansion of Council responsibility into a new area. It may start off slowly, but I have no doubt that the bill will soon be millions of dollars.
    Dunedin has developed, and is continuing to develop, a good digital network without any involvement of the DCC. Businesses and households already have many options of Internet services to meet their requirements and their budgets.
    As some-one who spends 100% of my work-time connected to computer systems in other parts of New Zealand, and sometimes the world, the existing network is not a limitation on digital business in Dunedin.
    The sad thing is that Dave Cull seems to have been captured by the bureaucracy: they have found him a “favorite”. And he is talking about another buzzword for big-spending: “sustainability” (Jinty MacTavish of Sustainable Dunedin City on the team).
    There may not be any Financial Responsibility option for voters in the upcoming local body election.

  4. Stu

    The state of digital communications in NZ with respect to the rest of the world is woeful. The rates we pay for data and capacity are far higher than in many other countries with whom we compete.

    An individual working from home at low volume might well find a suitable low-volume provider. A medium- to large-size business with heavy IT requirements will be hard-pushed to find capacity to meet their requirements at reasonable cost.

    Here’s a specific example: 100Mbps of international Internet ex-Dunedin will cost you around $40K. Monthly. In Asia, that will cost you a few hundred dollars. There is the disparity.

    The constraints on the digital network will become more and more apparent unless a concerted effort is made to work on a large scale – aggregating demand, localising content, attracting large companies based on combination of lifestyle and realistic communications costs.

    If you are concerned about the fiscal responsibility creep, then I encourage you to make a submission. Set the boundaries for the strategy; there are some of us on the steering group that have a very clear understanding of the split between governance and operations.

  5. Stu, if only the Digital Stategy was just about the problem that you describe. Anyway, the Government is already working on that issue.
    The Town Hall has taken to this like pigs rolling in dung. Consultants have already been paid big dollars for reports with little analysis and lots of propaganda.
    A new DCC Digital Manager, free WiFi, City Help Desk, broadband for rural areas, DCC giving IT services to schools: ratepayers have every reason to be afraid.

  6. Stu

    “Stu, if only the Digital Stategy was just about the problem that you describe. Anyway, the Government is already working on that issue.”

    Nobody is working on the international issue within Government. Nobody. CFH and UFB isn’t about reducing the price of international capacity. Pacific Fibre is about the only initiative in that area outwith traditional telcos and that’s privately-funded. The only way to reduce the unit cost of international capacity is through aggregation of demand – a gigabit of international will cost you $240K monthly, 100M will cost $40K so you get 10x capacity for 6x cost. Still not good economics when overseas a gigabit pipe is $30K monthly.

    “Consultants have already been paid big dollars for reports with little analysis and lots of propaganda.”

    I think that’s an unfair assessment. The report presents a lot of material that was gathered from a wide variety of groups who were consulted as part of the initial process.

    “A new DCC Digital Manager,”

    1 position.

    ” free WiFi,”

    Free wireless ACCESS, not Internet. The cost structure is completely different.

    ” City Help Desk,”

    City already provides a wide-ranging help desk, this would be one more function that COULD be factored in. Or it could be tendered. Or it could be voluntary. Or it could be internships.

    ” broadband for rural areas, ”

    Central government funding.

    “DCC giving IT services to schools:”

    Central Government funding.

    ” ratepayers have every reason to be afraid.”

    Actually, no. No specific funding streams are identified in this report. There are some broad ideas for where money might come from, outside the city coffers. It’s a Strategy, not an Annual Plan change. This sets out what would be coherent or what would be necessary, from our point of view, after initial consultation. It’s out there for public consultation to get feedback on what else might be necessary or desirable. From that, funding streams will be identified as required. To make the assumption that the bulk of this will fall on the ratepayer is quite wrong. Nobody on the Steering Group is leaning in that direction and there is a strong emphasis on separation of governance from operations in the proposal going forward.

  7. A new DCC Digital Manager: all-up staffing costs to the Council, $200,000 a year?
    The Council often seems to go ahead with projects based on the expectation of external funding and then ratepayers end up holding the baby. (e.g. the Stadium). I expect that the Government broadband funding will be conditional on a substantial local contribution.
    “Free wireless ACCESS, not Internet”? I’m missing something here. Isn’t the Octagon WiFi free Internet?

  8. Stu

    “Free wireless ACCESS, not Internet”? I’m missing something here. Isn’t the Octagon WiFi free Internet?”

    Yes, it is. But that preceded the Digital Strategy; that was an initiative from Customer Services Agency backed by EDU and is a fixed-term 12-month trial. It isn’t scalable in an affordable way. What is being talked about in terms of the Digital Strategy is free wireless access, not free wireless Internet. There’s a huge difference.

    My position, voiced to the Steering Group and hopefully evident in the strategy is: that free wireless Internet is too expensive to support from DCC funds, but that free wireless access (to the local loop, to council and other connected services, for example) has advantages, is affordable and can be funded in a variety of ways that do not exclude private enterprise.

    My position on the free wireless trial is voiced elsewhere on this site. I don’t think I am being inconsistent with that view. Comments welcome.

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