Overhead trolley bus wires are being used to roll out Wellington’s broadband cable network.
Called CityLink, the project is the brainchild of an assortment of about 20 different local banks and businesses, as well as the city council, who have joined forces under the rubric of Capital City Networks. The council’s involvement is part of an overall strategy called Info City. While a separate project, there is some overlap in personnel and goals.
Chairman Alan Dempster says the cable, running from the Parliament end of Lambton Quay to the end of Wakefield St, is about 90% completed, and a formal launch is likely in June. While most of the players in the consortium are private firms, many are contributing time, skills and other resources on a voluntary basis, says Dempster.
“Because Capital City Networks has grown out of the Info City programme, a lot of people involved subscribe to the Info City ethos, which is that the information industry, in its widest sense, would be a worthwhile thing to grow in Wellington. There’s a bit of evangelism amongst some of our contributors.”
At this stage it is likely to be at least two years before the cable is extended out to the suburbs, says Dempster. However, the group is already talking informally with Transalta, the Wellington electricity company, about using its poles and ducts to extend the fibre.
“It’s the old 80-20 [majority first, remainder later] rule, and for the moment we see most of our business being in the central city.”