Technology Nov 2009
Broadband uptake improves
Data caps remain a concern
A recent growth spurt put New Zealand in the top three fastest growing OECD nations in broadband uptake, although our data caps are still seen as a major impediment to growth.
While three quarters of Internet subscribers are now on broadband, New Zealand remains one of four OECD nations with constraints on how much data a subscriber can access before per megabyte charges kick in or users get shut down to dial-up speeds.
The OECD survey says half our broadband subscribers still have 5Gb or less as their data cap, which is seen as a major impediment to future growth. However, StatisticsNZ suggests we’re improving, with those expanding their ceiling to 20Gb tripling to 126,000 by June 2009.
StatisticsNZ says broadband subscriptions rocketed ahead by 27
percent in the year to June, with a million New Zealanders now on
broadband. This compares with 891,000 in 2008 and 475,700 in 2006.
Meanwhile New Zealand continues to inch its way up the broadband rankings to 18th place out of the 30 OECD countries, up 3.7 percent on the last survey. In the previous five years New Zealand has waltzed around the 19-20 mark.
Fibre diet recommended
The plan to deliver ultra-fast broadband to 75 percent of New
Zealanders over fibre within the next decade will rapidly shift that
ranking with contracts being signed and contractors about to get on with
the $1.5 billion task.
The government stepped in to stimulate competition and help improve
the business case for ultra-fast broadband, when private sector carriers
decided not to invest in fibre-to-the home. The government’s Digital
Strategy 2.0 target is 80 percent of Internet users having 20Mbit/sec or
higher by 2012.
The main telecommunications carriers were critical of the fibre-to-the-home roll out in a paper presented earlier this year, believing their own commercial high speed connectivity plans would meet the needs of the country for the foreseeable future.
InternetNZ Executive Director Keith Davidson described the national fibre plan as "a nation building exercise" and urged carriers to work with the government to deliver on the vision rather than standing in the way.
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