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Kiwis continue internet love affair

Loosening data caps and soaring data use are highlighted in the latest Statistics New Zealand Internet Service Provider Survey, which shows Kiwis chewed through data equivalent to streaming more than 12 million HD super-hero movies over the past year.

The annual report says New Zealanders used 53,000 terabytes of data – 53% more than last year and the equivalent of 12GB (or 60 hour long TV episodes) for every New Zealander.

It also notes that almost half of all broadband connections have data caps of 50 gigabytes or more. Three yeas ago only 4% had data caps of that size.

Connections with no data limit increased 87%, to 155,000, while those with smaller data caps, unsurprisingly, continue to decrease.

The report confirms that we're getting all that data faster, too.

“Fibre is synonymous with faster Internet,” says Jason Attewell, Statistics New Zealand international and business performance statistics manager.

“While copper connections still dominate the broadband market, fibre has jumped to 46,000 connections – three times what it was last year.”

DSL connections remained the most common type of home or business internet connection at just over 1.3 million connections of a total of 1.98 million.

Fibre still only makes up 1% of total connections, though Statistics New Zealand says 'it has by far the fastest growth rate of all broadband connection types'.

“In fact, if current growth rates were to continue, fibre connections would exceed DSL connections within five years.”

Nevertheless, the latest figures still put the number of fibre connections below the 2013 OECD average of 16.65%.

On the speed side, the report shows that although over two-thirds of connections are still in the mid-range (8-24Mbps), the proportion of 24+Mbps connections has increased from 7% to 16%, or 130,000 connections, since 2013.

“The biggest jump is in the 24-50Mbps category, while fibre and other ultra-fast options drove the smaller increases in the 100+Mbps group,” Statistics New Zealand says.

“In addition, connections with upload speeds of 10Mbps or greater went up 15 percentage points and have now surpassed 300,000.”

We're also holding the internet in the palm of our hands, with 3.7 million internet-connected mobile phones active in the three months to June 2014.

“That's a connected mobile phone for every four out of five Kiwis.

“Due to the large number of devices, apps and networks available, more people have access to a wider range of goods and services through the internet while on the go,” Attewell says.

The mobile figures put New Zealand just above the OECD average for number of mobile subscriptions and indicate Kiwis have multiple phones, which may allow them to separate personal communications from work.

Meanwhile, saturation point hasn't yet be reached in the home market, with residential connections increasing 8% to 1.6 million connections, making up 80% of all internet connections.

Just one in five connections are to businesses or government – a 3% annual decrease to 386,000. However, Statistics New Zealand says the decrease 'may not be significant, but could be the result of questionnaire changes providing more accurate data on the 2014 figures.”