With data use doubling every 12 to 18 months, a terabyte monthly average is in sight.
Taryn Hamilton, Vocus Group’s general manager of consumer for Orcon and Slingshot says: “While the average might seem high, Vocus customers have always used more than the national average.
“We expect usage to double again in the next 12 to 18 months. Given that, it’s pretty insane to think that the average data use for fibre customers will soon be more than a terabyte.”
Streaming video the driver
Vocus users are in front of the pack, but the rapid growth the company is seeing is common to most New Zealand Internet Service Providers.
The swtich from copper to fibre is significant, but the underlying reason for rapid growth is streaming video.
As a rule of thumb an hour of standard definition streaming video uses about a gigabyte. Move to higher definition video and an hour uses three GB. Most streaming video services automatically adjust to deliver the highest possible quality picture the connection can manage.
Chorus reports it saw a first inflexion point in data use when Spark began offering its Lightbox service. There was an even bigger leap when Netflix started operating in New Zealand.
The network company says traffic is now growing at 100 percent a year. That’s twice the rate data traffic grew in the pre-UFB era. The average amount of traffic per broadband connection across all New Zealand is now close to 150GB.
Fibre, copper traffic on the rise
Vocus says its customers with unlimited VDSL plans download an average of 288GB. Those on ADSL download an average of 225GB.
The average monthly download for all Vocus broadband customers is 288GB for those on unlimited plans and 230GB for all customers. That’s higher than the national average, but then Vocus’ customer base skews towards geeks, digital enthusiast and other heavy users.
Vocus unlimited plans dominate
Hamilton says the overwhelming majority of Vocus customers across all the company’s brands and speed options are on unlimited data plans. Almost every customer on the company’s 1000/500Mbps and 200/200Mbps products has an unlimited plan.
Around 85 percent of those on the 100/50Mbps service have an unlimited plan. The number drops to 77 percent for Vocus customers on VDSL services.
There’s a clear move to faster plans. Hamilton says most Orcon customers are already on fibre. Half of all new sign-ups choose the 1000Mbps plan. In part this reflects Orcon’s market positioning as the high-end brand for the most demanding internet enthusiasts.
- We’re going to use the term average a lot in this story so let’s make sure we’re all on the same page. Here we’re talking about the mean. That’s the number you get if you add up all the data used then divide it by the number of users. There are people who don’t like looking at these numbers this way, but the mean is easier to understand and more useful when making direct comparisons.↩︎