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Internet Service Provider Survey: 2011
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  14 October 2011

The Internet Service Provider (ISP) Survey collects information on the provision of Internet access to New Zealand households and businesses. For more information on the purpose of this survey and what data is collected, see the Definitions section.

Number of broadband subscribers and connection types

The total number of broadband subscribers increased by 14 percent between June 2010 and June 2011, to almost 1.5 million. Broadband subscribers accounted for over 85 percent of all Internet connections.

Graph, Total broadband subscribers, as at June 2009, June 2010, and June 2011.  

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) continued to be the most popular broadband connection type, with over 1 million subscribers at 30 June 2011. However, the proportion of broadband subscribers with DSL has declined each year since 2009, while alternative connection types such as cellular, cable, and satellite continue to increase from year to year. Although fibre optic connections remain the least common connection type, the number of subscribers increased by over 40 percent in the year ended June 2011.

Graph, Broadband subscribers by connection type, as at June 2009, June 2010, and June 2011.  

Consumers choosing plans with larger data allowance

Internet subscribers are opting for plans that allow them to download and upload more data at a fixed cost. In the year ended June 2011, there was a 134 percent increase in the number of subscribers with a data cap of 20 to 50 gigabytes (GB) per month – 20GB of data is the equivalent of watching about 100 hours of streaming video.

In 2009 and 2010 the most common data cap among broadband subscribers was less than 5GB. However, with over 700,000 subscribers at June 2011, the most common data cap became 5 to 20GB. In the year ended June 2011, more subscribers opted for plans with mid-range data caps. This was due to a general shift to larger caps, as well as a sharp decrease in the number of subscribers with no data cap, down 75 percent. This pushed more subscribers into the mid-range data caps.

Graph, Internet subscription data cap, broadband subscribers, as at June 2009, June 2010, and June 2011.  

Unmetered data

Data is unmetered if it is not being charged to subscribers and is not metered for a data cap. New Zealand-based 'on demand' websites such as TVNZ Ondemand are often unmetered by ISPs. In the year ended June 2011, the average amount of unmetered data consumed per subscriber was 0.8GB per month.

More of us have faster Internet

The proportion of subscribers with upload speeds of greater than 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps) increased by 73 percent in the year ended June 2011, while the slower speed categories declined. With an upload speed of 1.5Mbps, it would take about 15 seconds to upload a photo to the Internet. In 2009, subscribers with an upload speed of less than 256 kilobits per second (kbps) accounted for half of all broadband subscribers. This dropped to less than 20 percent in 2011.

The proportions of subscriber download speeds remained similar between 2010 and 2011.

Graph, Internet upload speeds, broadband subscribers, as at June 2009, June 2010, and June 2011.  

Mobile phone connections becoming more popular 

In the three months prior to 30 June 2011, over 1.9 million New Zealanders had a dedicated subscription (via a mobile phone) or used a mobile phone to access the Internet . An active mobile handset subscriber is a subscriber who has used a mobile phone to connect to the Internet within the last three months. Casual and incidental browsing is included. Ten percent of mobile subscriptions at June 2011 were dedicated data subscriptions. A dedicated data subscription is a subscription over a mobile network which is purchased separately to voice services. The majority (90 percent) of mobile phones accessing the Internet used standard mobile subscriptions.

Botnets the most commonly monitored Internet security threat

Forty-five percent of ISPs monitor Internet traffic for signs of compromised security. These can include botnets, pharming, phishing, and trojans. Nearly one-third of ISPs who monitored security threats reported their most common activity was monitoring for botnets. A botnet is a collection of compromised computers that, although their owners are unaware of it, have been set up to forward transmissions (including spam or viruses) to other computers on the Internet.

In the year ended June 2011, of ISPs that monitor for security, 4 percent of subscribers showed signs of compromised security.

Most providers introducing Internet Protocol version 6 within two years

Every computer system and device connected to the Internet is assigned an Internet Protocol (IP) address, which is similar to having a telephone number. The current process of distributing IP addresses is called Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4). IPv4 is gradually being replaced by IPv6, a newer version of IP that greatly expands the available address space.

At June 2011, 30 percent of ISPs already had IPv6 available to subscribers, 45 percent intended to have it available within two years and a further 10 percent within four years. Fifteen percent of ISPs had no plans to make it available.

Forty-three percent of ISPs that hadn't yet moved to IPv6 reported a lack of user demand as a barrier to installing it. A lack of resources, and business needs taking priority were the second-largest barriers, with 36 percent of ISPs reporting both.

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