Broadband cost 'too high' - survey

By Amelia Wade

Piers Morgan uses Twitter excessively. Photo / Supplied
Piers Morgan uses Twitter excessively. Photo / Supplied

More than 60 per cent of New Zealanders believe they're paying too much for broadband.

And despite the nationwide rollout of ultra fast broadband (UFB), 43 per cent say they don't know the difference between that and what they already have, according to a Canstar Blue survey released today.

More than 1800 broadband account holders were questioned about their online habits.

Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand chief executive Paul Brislen says Kiwis don't know much about UFB because the consumer rollout - to homes rather than schools, hospitals and businesses - hasn't really begun and won't for a couple of years yet.

"Awareness of the benefits is critical and we're keen to help tell everyone about the benefits the UFB will bring, but until they see trucks in the street and have the kids come home from school talking about it, awareness will be quite low."

Brislen says if customers have enough information about what they can do with UFB, the price issue should disappear.

"We need to sort out the issue around legal online content, especially TV and movie content, because uptake worldwide has been driven by access to movies."

In 10 years, Brislen would expect multiple users with multiple devices and a range of home services all connecting via the net. That required UFB and higher data limits.

"Without increased data caps you're basically driving a Ferrari with only a litre of fuel. You can get out the driveway but that's about it."

internetNZ this week said there needed to be a wider discussion on how to secure the UFB rollout given the controversy around the broadband price for the existing copper network.

Spokeswoman Susan Chalmers said fibre broadband was more expensive than copper and the Government and Chorus were concerned that reducing the copper price could stymie the uptake of fibre.

"The problem lies in rolling out a $5 billion fibre network with only $1.5 billion available. In addition, that fibre network must compete with a legacy copper network that is already cheaper than its faster counterpart."

Communication breakdown

One in 10 New Zealanders say the amount of time they spend online is negatively affecting relationships.

Whether it's reduced family time, ignoring loved ones in favour of the internet or simply sitting in silence connected to mobile gadgets, all of it is damaging, according to experts.

Those in Generation Y are most likely to have relationships suffer because of spending time online - 13 per cent said it had a negative impact, according to a Canstar Blue survey.

Social media commentator Simon Young said many websites were designed to keep people hooked.

"It's not just the geeks, it affects everyone. Everyone can spend too much time online," Young said.

Celia Walden, the wife of renowned broadcaster Piers Morgan, has recently come out about her husband's Twitter use.

"I'm tired of watching him miss out on little things like, oh, his daughter's first step (too busy taunting Alan Sugar about the size of his 'follower count'), sunsets (preoccupied, flirting with Cindy Crawford), and birds of paradise (who cares about them when you're in the midst of a cyberspace caper with Wayne Rooney?)," Ms Walden wrote in the Telegraph late last month.

OUR ONLINE LIFE

Percentage of respondents who agreed with the following statements:

* 62 per cent I think I pay too much for my broadband package

*43 per cent I don't understand the difference between ultra fast broadband and what I currently have

*10 per cent The amount of time I spend online is negatively impacting my relationships

*27 per cent I often feel guilty about the amount of time I spend online, but it doesn't change the amount of time I spend online

*39 per cent My children spend more time on the internet than they do watching TV

Source: Canstar Blue Broadband survey. Based on a sample of 1824 broadband account holders who pay the bills. 2.3 per cent margin of error.

- NZ Herald

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