While debate about the cost and appropriateness of the National Broadband Network is clogging city media, in regional Australia the main question is one of ‘when can we get it’. That has certainly been the case in Victoria’s second largest city, Geelong. So keen is Geelong and its surrounding councils to get in early on the NBN that its representatives have attended events such as the Intelligent Community Forum, and late last year Geelong was instrumental in bringing to Australia Mark Kiel, the CIO of one of the world’s first cities to adopt gigabit-speed Internet connections (pictured, standing to the right alongside City of Greater Geelong’s Rod Macdonald – pic courtesy of the Geelong Advertiser). Chattanooga in the US state of Tennessee has taken a leadership position on broadband in an attempt to build its economy, and its gamble appears to be paying off.
I had the chance to chat to Mark while he was in Australia, and the story appeared on the Sydney Morning Herald IT Pro site in November last year. High speed broadband has brought prosperity to Chattanooga in terms of helping secure business investment and is leading to a new wave of entrepreneurial activity in the city, as well as providing direct benefits in terms of improved services. You can read all about it by clicking here.