Bigger, better, faster: Data getting fat on fast food diet

Kiwis are using internet plans with bigger data caps and better connection quality, with a high fibre diet and the mobile web driving growth in online. That’s according to Statistics New Zealand, which says more than three quarters of broadband connections now have data caps of 20GB or more, and that there’s been growth in the 50GB to 100GB cap plan range of 117 percent, to 300,000 connections in that range this year.

Plans with caps of between 20GB and 50GB numbered over 80,000, with average monthly use of 23GB across all connections. “With 23GB of data, you could stream high-definition videos for about an hour every day of the month, and still have some to spare,” says information and communication technology statistics manager Hamish Hill. But the organisation says it’s not just data volumes that are growing, download speeds are also improving, partly because of changes in connection types.

“We’re seeing greater access to improved DSL connections over traditional copper lines, as well as expanding cellular and fibre technologies,” says Hill.

Although fibre connections make up only one percent of all broadband connections, there are now more than 70,000 nationally, with download speeds of 100 megabits per second or more, Statistics New Zealand says.

“Improved reliability and speed could also benefit small businesses, giving them the ability to move large files between locations, and even replacing servers with cloud-run services,” it says.

The organisation’s numbers give weight to the death of dialup – at 100,000 connections they make up just five percent of all connections. Most connections now have upload speeds of between 1.5 megabits per second and 10 megabits per second, says Stats NZ.

Wireless connections were up 22 percent this year and there are now 1.2 million DSL connections, up almost 60,000 since 2012. Total broadband connections were up 10 percent in 2013 to just under 1.8 million.

The researchers say mobile handset internet connections have grown by a quarter to reach 3.2 million connections, up more than 650,000 since 2012.

“Whether it is finding directions, checking bus timetables, or working from the local café, accessing the internet on the go appears to be almost second nature to us. This is helped by the variety of devices emerging to enable this.”

Most mobile phone connections come from bundled packages (voice, texts and data), according to the numbers, with just under 2.8 million connections. Another 425,000 are data-only connections.

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