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Internet Service Provider Survey: 2015
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  14 October 2015

The information in this release is based on data as at 30 June 2015.

Fibre connections hit 100,000

Fibre-optic broadband connections continued to be the fastest-growing type of Internet connection in New Zealand. The number of fibre-based Internet connections has more than doubled to over 100,000 in 2015, from 46,000 in 2014. We’ve seen this exponential growth in fibre connections since the technology was introduced in 2011.

Fibre-optic Internet connections, at 30 June 2011 to 2015.

The number of DSL (copper) Internet connections continued to increase, but at a slower rate than fibre connections: increasing only 1 percent from June 2014 to June 2015, from 1.32 million to 1.33 million.

As at June 2015, fibre connections made up 5 percent of all broadband connections (up from 2 percent in 2014), and the market share of fibre connections is increasing. Compared with other countries that are part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), New Zealand’s fibre connections were still below the average value of 17 percent.

More people choosing uncapped data plans

The number of broadband Internet connections with no data cap has quadrupled to 628,000 in 2015, from 155,000 in 2014. Since 2011, the number of uncapped plans has increased almost 30 times over. As at 30 June 2015, one-third of all broadband Internet connections were uncapped, compared with 8 percent in 2014.

Connections with data caps over 50 gigabytes (GB) peaked in 2014, and were expected to increase further in 2015 to meet the needs of heavy-data users. However, these high-cap connections are being replaced by unlimited connections. Sixty percent of all broadband connections allow 50GB or more data to be used each month.

Broadband Internet connections by data cap range, at 30 June 2011 to 2015.

The number of connections with data caps decreased across all data cap ranges. This shows that consumers are choosing broadband plans with high or unlimited data caps, allowing for data-heavy Internet usage. This may be linked to the decreasing cost of using the Internet: the cost of telecommunications services is 4 percent lower in 2015 than in 2014 (Consumers Price Index: June 2015 quarter).

Over 84,000 terabytes used in June 2015

People used over 84,000 terabytes in the month of June 2015, up 143 percent from June 2013. In 2014, some ISPs were unable to provide information on the amount of data used per month, therefore we are comparing 2015 with 2013 data. Monthly data use excludes data used by mobile phone Internet connections.

Monthly data use, June month 2011 to 2015.

People used an average of 45GB per household in June 2015. This equates to watching approximately 27 hours of on-demand TV, or 11 hours of HD video per week. The increase in data is likely to relate to growth in video and music streaming, along with greater availability of options for TV and movie screening online, both subscription-based and non-subscription based. Several new video-streaming services launched in New Zealand recently, including Netflix, Lightbox, and Neon.

Residential connections used over 90 percent of the total data. However, in some cases it is not clear whether a connection is classed as residential or business, notably small home businesses.

Broadband speeds trending upwards

Broadband speed is getting faster, both in download and upload speeds. Because of the differences in infrastructure that can affect the speed for individual connections, we collect the theoretical speed from each ISP. As at 30 June 2015, only 3 percent of connections had a download speed of less than eight megabits per second (Mbps), compared with 14 percent in 2014. Additionally, 23 percent of all broadband connections are now faster than 24 Mbps, up from 16 percent in 2014.

Broadband Internet connections, by download speeds, at 30 June 2011 to 2015.

The Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) aims to increase broadband speeds to at least 5 Mbps, for 97 percent of New Zealand households and businesses. As at 30 June 2015, 98 percent of broadband Internet connections had download speeds greater than 5 Mbps. However, not included in this figure are the 3 percent of Internet connections that are dial-up connections, and the households and businesses that don’t have an Internet connection.

Upload speeds are also increasing, but are changing at a slower rate. The proportion of connections with uploading speeds of greater than 10 Mbps was 19 percent, up from 16 percent in 2014.

Mobile phone Internet connections increase 7 percent

The number of active mobile phone Internet connections increased 7 percent in the year ended June 2015, to 3,959,000. The value of mobile phone imports was the highest ever, with $675 million of mobile phones being brought into New Zealand during the year. Based on the estimated population of New Zealand at 30 June 2015 (4.6 million), there were 86 mobile phone Internet connections for every 100 people. Some users have multiple mobile phone connections, for example a work and a personal phone, which are both used to access the Internet.

Mobile phone Internet connections, at 30 June 2011 to 2015.

The way that people are using the Internet on the move is changing. More customers could be using their mobile phone for an Internet connection, instead of a cellular connection. Tethering a mobile phone to a laptop, for example, can take the place of a cellular connection.

For more detailed data from the ISP Survey, see the Excel tables in the ‘Downloads’ box.

See DataInfo+ for information on definitions, data quality, and revisions. These sections were previously included in this release. 

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