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The Battle for Better Broadband Heats up – Latest Chorus Quarterly Update

The Battle for Better Broadband Heats up – Latest Chorus Quarterly Update
Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Here at Broadband Compare we like to keep informed with everything that is happening in the New Zealand broadband and internet sector.  We have great relationships with lots of the major telecom businesses so they keep us up to date on the latest developments, which in turn we like to share with our users.  

Therefore, without further delay, here are the latest stats and news from Chorus about the state of their network and the changes to fibre in Chorus serviced parts of the country.

Four key points were highlighted in the most recent quarterly update:

1. Competition has ratchetted up to a new level.  The ‘Better broadband’ technologies are in a battle to win consumer mindshare (fibre, copper, fixed wireless, cable)

2. Consumers see fibre as a ‘superhero’ brand… The latest Chorus research shows fibre has the highest awareness, satisfaction and loyalty of all technologies –VDSL is much lower profile

3. BUT… many people are confused what ‘better’ means for them in a broadband sense. ‘Speed’ is desired by one portion of the market but for others ‘consistency’ and personal benefits mean more.

4. Better broadband migration is the theme for 2017 and many providers are offering strong incentives to upsell and re-contract customers

The New Zealand broadband market experienced a significant shift across four key areas in the past six months.  A lot of this has been driven by the dominant two players in the marketplace, Spark and Vodafone.  (1) Spark have been pushing forward with an aggressive approach of fixed wireless as a home broadband substitute.  Whilst (2) Vodafone has been promoting its newly upgraded ‘FibreX’ cable in areas where they have the Cable network in place.  (3) There has seen a new focus on migration –Internet Service Providers are looking at upgrading customers to the better technologies in an effort to support retention and (4) there has been a shift from broadband ‘best efforts’ to broadband that is fit for purpose.  This last approach has seen a growing focus from regulators on performance commitments that NZ internet providers are making.

Price driven competition has become fierce with a big drive towards discounts in exchange for longer term commitment.  This has seen some NZ Internet providers offering 6 month half priced deals on 24 month term contracts as well as discounts for 12 month contract commitments. 

Fibre is now often priced at or below (on special deals) basic ~10-15 Mbps broadband plans (ADSL).


Fibre broadband and VDSL broadband uptake grows

The combined levels of activity in the marketplace is seeing an ongoing growth in the number of better broadband connections across the country.  Fibre broadband and VDSL broadband connections have both seen significant leaps.  Fibre broadband uptake grew by 38% from June 2016 to December 2016 whilst VDSL saw growth in the same period of 25%.

There is strong fibre broadband (UFB) growth occurring across all regions of New Zealand and nationally we are now seeing 32% uptake with 216,000 connections within UFB deployed footprint.  Blenheim continues to lead the country with 38% UFB uptake – followed closely by Nelson (36%) and Rotorua (35%).  The strongest growth rate for fibre uptake from Dec-15 was for Greymouth, Kapiti and Feilding.  All Chorus operated fibre areas are now at least 50% build complete, including the large volume areas of Auckland (56%) and Wellington (51%).


Gigabit Fibre has certainly landed

The fibre broadband market is steadily upgrading from 30Mbps plans across the country with Fibre max plans (including Dunedin) now accounting for 4% of fibre connections at December 2016.  Over half of all New Zealand fibre plans are now 100Mbps, which is now up at 53% from 31% a year ago.  Of new fibre connections, around 84% are for 100Mbps or more whilst there are now over 9,000 Fibre max plans (incl. Dunedin Gig City) across the country.


New Zealand vs. the World in Fibre Broadband

As is usual when comparing New Zealand with the world… we’re doing pretty well!  New Zealand is a strong performer for fibre adoption when compared to other countries with fibre across the globe.  We rank second in the OECD for increase in take-up over the 12 months to June 2016.  The only country ahead of us is Poland and we’re beating the likes of Canada and those guys over the ditch in Australia!  Go New Zealand!

So we’re doing great… now what?

Well whilst we are doing very well in getting New Zealand connected with better broadband there is still plenty to do.  Right now, six out of ten kiwis could get better broadband today.  In total, around 720,000 kiwis could upgrade to better broadband connections today with the largest upgrade opportunity being amongst users on standard and basic broadband connections.


Can you get better broadband?

We mean right now.  Not waiting for the fibre rollout to be completed but RIGHT. NOW.  60% of the New Zealand population can so can you?  Check the best possible broadband connection at your address right now and see if you can get better broadband.  It is quick and free to compare broadband plans at Broadband Compare so click here and see what you could be missing out on!


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