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New Zealand takes bronze medal for fixed data use

New Zealand takes the bronze medal for fixed line broadband data use in a week where numbers and reports dominate the telco sector news.
Traffic per fixed broadband line June 2020 - international figures.

New Zealand third for fixed line data use

New Zealand is in third place behind the UK and the USA. Iceland is number four and Australia sits at five in the table. The figures are from June 2020 and cover 19 developed countries.

The report shows five of the top six markets measure by data consumption are English. The sixth, Iceland, is mainly fluent in English.

English appears to be more an indicator of heavy use than the broadband technology.

There is little correlation between fibre-to-the-premise penetration and data use.

At the time of the report the UK, which tops the table, had 10 per cent of fibre to the premise connections while Japan, which has 80 per cent fibre was near the bottom of the usage table.

Communications Chambers says there is a clear link between use of streaming video on demand and data use. There is a connection between this and language: far more video content is produced in English than in other countries. This is also true for online games: another high data use application.

A point Communications Chambers may have overlooked is the high usage countries all have strong on-demand sports broadcasting.

Communications Chambers looked at how traffic patterns changed during the pandemic and with lockdowns. There are clear spikes during lockdowns.

The report says while the pandemic has brought growth forward, the effects may not be long lasting in high use countries like New Zealand.

In low use countries the step up appears to have a more durable change in use patterns. It describes this as a ‘catching up’ effect.

Chorus boosts fibre numbers as footprint grows

Chorus added 23,000 fibre connections in the first quarter of its 2022 financial year despite lockdowns halting activity.

During the period, the company saw uptake across its fibre footprint climb one per cent to 66 per cent. In UFB1 areas this is now 71 per cent. In Auckland uptake is now 76 per cent.

The company says lockdown has driven increased demand for higher speed plans.

Average fibre use on the Chorus network was 621GB in September up from 500GB in June.

Cert NZ asks users to up their security game

Today marks the start of Cyber Smart Week. Cert NZ is promoting a series of simple steps New Zealanders can take to improve security. These include improving passwords, installing two factor authentication, updating software and becoming more aware of privacy.

While the message is not new, poor security practices remain widespread. Cert NZ director Rob Pope says one in five New Zealanders have experienced an online attack and two-thirds are concerned about the security of their data.

Spark promises simpler broadband, trims prices

Spark has updated its broadband price tariff in a move it says reduces complexity. At the same time it has cut price for unlimited data plans.

Each plan now includes a simple description of what it is suitable for and an indication of peak hour speeds. Spark says it will update the speed information with each quarterly Measuring Broadband New Zealand report.

These moves are in line with Commerce Commission requests for greater broadband plan clarity.

While plans and marketing material may be simpler, the product names are unambiguous but wordy. Spark’s top broadband product is branded as Unplan Flexible Netflix Fibre Max Broadband and now costs $120 a month.

That’s an uncapped broadband connection with a nominal line speed of a gigabit per second and bundled Netflix.

At the other end of the scale, there is a $45 a month Basic Wireless Broadband account. It’s for people who don’t use much data.

Spark IoT upgrade drives electric vehicle charging

Spark has added its CAT-M1 IoT technology to 263 Rural Connectivity Group cell sites. The move means Evnex, a locally-owned electric vehicle charging business can install more monitors and chargers in rural towns and homes across the country.

Evnex CEO Ed Harvey says the extra coverage will “help bridge the barriers of owning and using an EV for people in rural areas”.

He says the IoT network will help understand use patterns helping Evnex work with power companies to manage the network load.

NZ mobile lags on mobile experience

Best mobile experience - international figures.

Crowdsourced data firm Tutela ranked New Zealand at joint 22 for mobile experience.

The company’s Global State of Mobile Experience compares performance in 100 countries.

Denmark is at the top of the table. Mobile users there have excellent consistent quality 86 per cent of the time. The Dominican Republic is bottom with a score of 29 per cent.

Excellent consistent quality means the network is able to handle high definition video, HD voice calls and real-time gaming.

New Zealand’s score of 75 per cent is on a par with that of Serbia and a long way behind the leaders. Australia is ahead of us at 14 with a score of 78 per cent.

Tutela ranked the top operators for best mobile experience and best video experience. No New Zealand carrier features in the list.

In other news…

2degrees has won the Chambers of Commerce business from Vodafone. It gives the carrier the opportunity to pitch special prices to tens of thousands of members across New Zealand.

Akamai has appointed Chris Gibbs as regional Vice President for Australian and New Zealand.

Remi Galasso is hiring staff for the Datagrid data centre business being built in the South Island near Invercargill.

Rocket Lab paid US$40 million with an $5.5 earnest option to buy Advanced Solutions, a space flight software business.

Staff at Vodafone can each spend $100 of the company’s money to ‘pay it forward’ at local cafes and businesses that are doing it tough during lockdowns.