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Internet Service Provider Survey: 2016
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  14 October 2016
Commentary

Fibre uptake continues its rapid growth

Fibre-optic connections in New Zealand have continued their rapid growth, and now make up 12 percent of all broadband connections in New Zealand. This is a significant increase in market share: in 2015, only 5 percent of broadband connections were through fibre.

As at 30 June 2016, 223,000 broadband connections were through fibre-optic connections – more than double the number of connections at the same time last year.

Graph, Fibre-optic internet connections, at 30 June 2012–16.

The increase in fibre connections largely follows the governmental ultra-fast broadband rollout programme, which aims to connect 80 percent of New Zealanders by the end of 2022. This rollout is currently around 70 percent complete, but there is a delay in consumers using fibre, as they must make connections through their internet service provider.

International comparisons reveal that New Zealand is still below the OECD average for broadband connections through fibre, which was 19 percent (as at December 2015). However, New Zealand has more fibre connections as a proportion of total broadband connections than Australia, which had 7 percent as at 30 June 2016.

Copper-based (or digital subscriber line) connections remain the most common type of broadband connection in New Zealand, making up 65 percent of all broadband connections.

There was a 5 percent drop in the total number of broadband connections in New Zealand from June 2015 to June 2016. This is thought to relate to customers accessing the internet through mobile phones and having the option to ‘tether’ other devices to their phone, and the potential for reaching saturation of the household broadband market in New Zealand.

Almost half of all broadband connections have no data cap

As at 30 June 2016, almost 50 percent of all broadband connections in New Zealand had no data cap. The number of uncapped data broadband plans has been rapidly rising over the last few years – in 2013, they only made up 5 percent of all connections.

Graph, Broadband internet connections by data cap, at 30 June 2012–16.

This rapid rise in uncapped plans is seen in both residential connections and in business/government connections, which suggests that maximising data use is important to both groups. The number of uncapped plans has increased 43 percent since 2015.

This is in response to a huge increase in demand for streaming or on-demand services such as TV or movie streaming, online radio or music streaming, online gaming, and content creation and sharing.

Kiwis use over 140,000 terabytes of data in June 2016

New Zealanders used 143,109 terabytes of data in the month of June 2016, up 70 percent from June 2015. Over 90 percent of this data was consumed by residential connections, meaning that on average, each residential connection used approximately 88 gigabytes in June 2016.

Graph, Monthly data use, June month 2011–16.

This equates to approximately 85 hours of streaming TV or movies per month, or 1,700 hours of music streaming.

The increase in data usage relates to the large increase in the number of uncapped broadband connections.

Mobile phone internet data collected for the first time

At 30 June 2016, there were 3,481,000 mobile phone internet connections in New Zealand, up 6 percent from 3,287,000 in 2015 (revised since publication in 2015).

Graph, Mobile phone internet connections, at 30 June 2014–16.

The amount of data consumed by mobile phone internet connections was collected for the first time in 2016. The mobile phone internet connections in New Zealand cumulatively used 3,165 terabytes of data – an average of 900 megabytes per connection. This is equivalent to around 24 hours of music streaming on a mobile phone, depending on the quality of the streaming.

Download speeds continue to improve

Twenty-one percent of broadband connections in New Zealand had theoretical download speeds of greater than 50Mbps in June 2016, up from 13 percent in 2015. Sixty-six percent of broadband connections had theoretical download speeds of less than 24Mbps, down from 77 percent in 2015. Upload speeds are largely unchanged from 2015.

Graph, Broadband internet connections by download speed, at 30 June 2012–16.

The government Rural Broadband Initiative aims to have 99 percent of New Zealanders having access to 50Mbps peak speeds, and the remaining 1 percent having access to 10Mbps speeds, by 2025.

Find data tables and information about the survey

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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