Binge-watchers drive broadband use

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by Alexia Johnston

South Canterbury residents binge-watching their favourite TV shows are driving a surge in broadband use.

Figures from Chorus show households across the district are consuming more broadband data than they did last year and Timaru residents are leading the way.

Those statistics show that increase was driven by surging demand for streaming services, including Netflix.

The average Timaru home used 143GB of broadband data in March, compared with 115GB in 2017.

Mackenzie households consumed an average of 128GB in March, up from 96GB for the corresponding period last year.

Waimate residents had the biggest increase, consuming an average of 124GB in March, 50% more than in March last year.

Chorus network strategy manager Kurt Rodgers said those figures demonstrated that faster broadband was an integral part of many New Zealanders’ day-to-day lives.

“Many Kiwi homes now have several connected devices going at any one time. We’re using far more data and requiring faster and more reliable broadband speeds.

“People’s viewing habits have shifted online,” he said.

“It’s now very mainstream to watch television shows and movies via an app on a smart television or tablet.

“With faster broadband it means you can potentially have each member of a household streaming a programme on a different device all at the same time, without facing long delays or frustrating buffering.”

Nationally, the average New Zealand home used about 139GB of broadband data in March, 2017.

This figure sits at 185GB for March this year, a 30% increase.

Improvements to broadband have been rolled out, including through the ultra-fast broadband (UFB) initiative, UFB2+ and the rural broadband programmes.

However, Mr Rodgers said 1.3million people had not made use of it.

Instead, they were still hooked into slower broadband options.

“That’s an incredible number of people who are missing out on the advantages to be had.

“While fibre is the fastest form of broadband, for areas where it’s not yet available, VDSL (very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line) on the Chorus copper network provides a faster, more reliable service with less buffering for streaming TV, movies and video than regular ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line).”