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Current as of 09/12/16 07:39PM NZST
Kim Fulton is a NZME. News Service regional reporter

Broadband use doubles in Tauranga

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Broadband use has nearly doubled in Tauranga over the past 18 months as more people watch television online. Photo/ Chris Gorman
Broadband use has nearly doubled in Tauranga over the past 18 months as more people watch television online. Photo/ Chris Gorman

Tauranga households are using nearly twice as much broadband as they were 18 months ago.

Figures from Chorus show the average monthly household data usage in the Tauranga district increased by 90 per cent to 72 gigabytes (GBs) between January last year and this June.

Terry Coles, technical director of internet service provider Enternet Online Limited (EOL), said the increase was mainly due to the uptake of fibre connections and the availability of online media streaming content such as television on demand and Netflix.

"In addition, wireless service providers like EOL are able to offer higher speeds to rural and under-served markets due to the advancement of wireless technology."

Mr Coles said increased demand required increased network investment to provide the additional speed and capacity, but that wasn't necessarily accompanied by an increase in revenue.

The Chorus data showed average internet speeds increased from 15 to 18 megabytes per second (Mbps) over the 18 month period in Tauranga.

Mr Coles said broadband speeds had increased overall at the local level but that didn't always translate to faster internet for users.

Overseas content still arrived at much the same speed as it did two years ago, mainly due to New Zealand's distance from the rest of the world.

Local content could be delivered at fibre speeds because it was connected to local fibre networks, said Mr Coles.

Computer Guru owner Rob Wynyard agreed people were using a lot more internet than they used to as options such as Netflix and television on demand became more accessible.

Internet had become more affordable too, with many unlimited broadband plans on offer.

Electronic devices had more functions now than they did before and children accessed the internet at a younger age.

Mr Wynyard said there was a big demand for fibre optic internet in the area with people having to wait to upgrade their connections.

Mr Wynyard said a lot of people were moving to ultrafast broadband and speeds were good in most places. However, there was some room for improvement rurally.

Chorus head of market insight Rosalie Nelson said more than half of New Zealanders now watched television and films online.

"But this isn't just about watching more and more content online, it's also about the rapid digitisation of our everyday lives."

Broadband sat at the heart of the home and played a pivotal role in how people function in day-to-day lives, she said.

Typically, homes now had several connected devices at any one time and with the surge in data use, people expected and demanded faster and more reliable broadband speeds.

"With faster broadband, you don't have long delays while streaming or downloading high definition TV and video or face frustrating buffering - even when there are multiple connected devices in your home," said Ms Nelson.

Nationally, the average New Zealand home used 102GB of broadband data in June 2016 - more than double the amount used at the start of 2015 (49GB).

- Bay of Plenty Times

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