From daily video conferencing to nightly Netflix, Kiwis are living increasingly digitised lives and that means our broadband needs are changing to keep pace with extra demand.
With more of us working from home than ever, and data hungry services like 4k video streaming becoming standard, the average household data usage on the Chorus network has soared from just 13GB a month in 2011, to over 500GB today.
Now new analysis by Chorus shows around 15 percent of users on New Zealand’s favourite broadband connection - 100Mbps fibre plan - are regularly maxing out their bandwidth.
This means up to 100,000 households across the country could be experiencing intermittent slowdown when everyone's at home and online.
Chorus spokesperson Kurt Rodgers says the number of devices on each home network is ever-increasing, from smart TVs to multiple mobile phones and gaming consoles. It all places extra strain on your connection.
"It's like getting more and more people in your car. If you have a small car, every time you put a new person in the car, you’re going to go slower and slower."
The good news is adding extra capacity to your fibre connection is as simple as dialing up your service provider and asking to upgrade to a faster fibre plan.
It’s easy to treat your internet like any other utility, a monthly payment that quickly fades into the background of daily life, but fibre broadband plans have flexibility and can be upgraded to match your growing needs.
"It's like when someone turns the tap on and that affects when someone’s in the shower. We don't want that with broadband. We want everyone to be able to turn the taps on all of the time and everyone's tap in your house, your flatmates, all your family members to be able to turn all the taps on all of the time," says Kurt.
With standard fibre speeds up to 1000Mbps, whatever you’re up to online there’s a fibre plan that ensures you’ll have a smooth experience no matter how many people are streaming, gaming or downloading simultaneously.
If you aren’t already connected to fibre, it’s worth checking to see if it’s available in your area. Regular reporting from the commerce commission shows fibre is the fastest most stable broadband in the country and it's available to 85 percent of households.
Kurt says making sure you have the optimal broadband setup is about giving yourself peace of mind knowing whatever happens, you and your family never need to worry about your internet slowing down.
"Maybe you have a few more people in your house, it's a rainy weekend and there's not much else to do. Maybe there’s quite a few of you working from home and the football's on and you're all online at the same time. It's actually those moments where you need broadband the most,"
"You have to choose your broadband in the same way you choose something like your car. You don't choose that for how fast you commute to work. You choose it for how you want to live your life on the weekends and special occasions."
Kurt says he expects Kiwis data needs to keep on increasing as it reflects a much broader shift in the way we engage with the economy. So it’s going to pay to plan ahead.
"The entire economy is going into digital. That's what's underlying all of this...you're going to be demanding more next year than this year and the year after. You want to make sure you keep ahead of that and probably get faster broadband than you think you need because you'll grow into it."
If you’re already on fibre and want to check out your options, give your provider a call and ask about upgrading. If you want to learn more about fibre, head over to chorus.co.nz.
This article was created for Chorus.