When we complete our fibre network roll out in 2022, 87% of all New Zealanders will be able to connect to fibre broadband on our network, but as some of us wait for the arrival of fibre in our street, you might ask, is it really worth the wait?
Yes it is. The anecdotal feedback, the ever-increasing usage statistics and the hard-fact case studies on business improvements and efficiencies from around the country, demonstrate that fibre is making a substantial difference and improvement to the way we live our digital lives. But is it a case of keeping up with the Joneses or forging ahead? And on a global scale, are we lagging or leading? Let’s see how New Zealand’s broadband stacks up when it comes to broadband speed and access to fibre.
We’re shooting up the rankings. As at August 2017, New Zealand was ranked 15th in fixed (that’s ADSL, VDSL and fibre on our network) broadband download speeds around the world according to the Ookla Speed Test Global Index. What’s most impressive about this positioning is that less than four years ago, in December 2013, we were ranked 43rd. So that’s a substantial amount of progress in a short space of time and is the direct result of the ever increasing number of Kiwis upgrading to better broadband with fibre and VDSL.
According to the recent Ookla results, our average broadband speed came in at 64Mbps – ahead of the UK in 25th place with 48Mbps and Australia in 53rd place with 25Mbps. (Yes, that’s right, our friends across the ditch experience less than half our average broadband speed.) The US were ahead of us in 9th place with an average download speed of 72Mbps.
With fibre being laid to over 390 towns and cities around the country, it feels like we are truly progressing towards becoming a digital nation. And it’s heartening to see more Kiwis are taking advantage of this new infrastructure. In December 2013 just 5% (20,000) of those who had access to the new UFB network had connected. In June 2017, that figure jumped to 35%, (413,000)* as more and more people have signed up for the reliable and fast broadband experience that fibre provides.
When we compare New Zealand’s growth in fibre subscriptions to other countries, we’re up there too. The South Pacific is leading the charge when it comes to the number of people using fibre to get online as shown by the OECD’s measure**. New Zealand was ranked the second biggest growth market in fibre subscriptions in the world, with an increase of 101%. Australia experienced the biggest growth, with a 122% increase. The US sat just under the OECD average with growth of 14%. The UK was not included in this reporting.
So taking these measures into account, New Zealand broadband speeds are competitive and our access and usage growing. We certainly seem to be holding our own on a global scale, proving that fibre is not just popular but also performing. Worth the wait we think.
*MBIE Quarterly Broadband Update June 2017 – figures relate to New Zealand’s entire UFB network, not just Chorus’ fibre network.
**OECD Annual growth of fibre subscriptions among countries reporting fibre subscriptions, December 2015-2016