A report released yesterday by New Zealand’s Commerce Commission reveals some interesting info on what’s been happening with internet connectivity across the ditch.
As was the case in Australia and many other countries, COVID-19 lockdowns last year changed the way Kiwis worked, learned and played – with much more of all that happening online. The report notes for the year ending 30 June 2020, average fixed broadband usage per month increased from 207 GB per month to a whopping 284GB.
In the year to 30 September 2020, total copper broadband connections dropped 24% to 441,000 and households continued to ditch landlines, with connections down 12% on 2019.
As at 30 September last year, approximately 1.69 million households and businesses in New Zealand were able to connect to the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) fibre network, and 1.05 million had already moved to fibre by that point.
The Ultra-Fast Broadband initiative set a goal of building fibre-to-the-home networks covering 87% of New Zealand’s population by the end of 2022. A public–private venture between the NZ government and four companies, total government investment involves NZ$1.5 billion.
The population of New Zealand is around the 5 million mark and the average household size is approximately 2.6. So, with 1.69 million households able to connect to Ultra-Fast Broadband, it looks like the initiative is well placed to reach its goal.
But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing – the report notes an investigation into FibreMax products meant to offer download speeds of around 700 to 950 Mbps, but testing showed mileage was varying greatly. Around a third of users were seeing speeds under 500 Mbps and 5.6% less than 100 Mbps. However, there has been some improvement since a working group collaborating with the Commission and its testing partner focused on the issues involved.
In terms of fixed broadband download speeds generally, New Zealand ranked 12th in the OECD last year. It’s a little embarrassing to note Australia was well behind.
As for fixed wireless internet connections specifically, these also increased at a rapid clip; jumping 221,000 – up 16% from the previous year.
The reports notes that as at the end of June 2020, New Zealand ranked third of OECD countries for fixed wireless broadband connections per capita.
The NZ Annual Telecommunications Report can be viewed here.