Broadband usage in Northland soars

By Mikaela Collins

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The broadband usage in the Kemp household has gone from 50GB per month to 200GB, all because of Netflix and YouTube. Liam (front) with mum Candice and sisters Danielle and Olivia debate what to watch on the streaming service. Photo / John Stone
The broadband usage in the Kemp household has gone from 50GB per month to 200GB, all because of Netflix and YouTube. Liam (front) with mum Candice and sisters Danielle and Olivia debate what to watch on the streaming service. Photo / John Stone

Whangarei woman Candice Kemp says with streaming services like Netflix giving punters the opportunity to binge watch television shows, it's no surprise broadband usage in the region has soared.

New statistics from Chorus show the average Whangarei home used 64GB of broadband data in June compared to 34GB in January last year, an 87 per cent increase.

In the Far North the average home used 72GB of broadband data in June compared to 36GB in January last year for a 100 per cent increase in usage.

The figures showed Kaipara households used 56GB of broadband data in June compared to 29GB in January last year, or a 93 per cent increase.

Whangarei mother-of-three Candice Kemp is not surprised by the rise, given how her broadband use has increased.

Usage in her household went from 50GB per month last year, to 100GB per month and now, to 200GB per month.

She said the increase is mainly because of streaming service Netflix.

"With Netflix you can binge TV shows like Suits, Orange is the New Black, Downton Abbey. The kids watch the Wiggles, my son loves Power Rangers. We get emails telling us when we've used 50 per cent and we had used 50 per cent and it wasn't even halfway through the month," she said.

Ms Kemp said the household uses at least 80 cent of the 200GB per month. She said the family have had the NZ version of Netflix since it was released last year and had the US version before that.

Ms Kemp said before Netflix, 50GB was more than enough data and now her husband is keen to increase to a 500GB plan which has a faster connection speed.

"Netflix uses heaps. We were comfortable on 50GB [before] because we only used [the internet] for Facebook and emailing." YouTube also uses data and in the Kemp household tablets, phones, laptops and Smart TVs are all connected to the internet.

Rosalie Nelson, Chorus head of market insight, said figures showed more than half of Kiwis now watch internet TV where the number of online film and TV platforms had "exploded".

Meanwhile, streaming services such as Netflix have alsoaffected video shops.

Mike Brown, owner of Network Video and Postshop in Tikipunga, has been in the business for 26 years. He said while streaming services have hurt video shops, they haven't killed them.

"They're a thorn in our side, they've hurt our business but I don't think they're the answer to public entertainment," he said.

Mr Brown said he noticed a decline in business about two years ago and did not expect business to drop off so quickly.. There were once eight video shops in Whangarei but now there are three.

"On the other hand I think we're getting quite a few people coming back. To get the same catalogue that we have in our store you have to belong to every [streaming service].

Netflix would only have a fifth of our catalogue so that's one of the advantages."

In video shops you can rent a complete series, rather than hopping between services, Mr Brown said, adding new release movies also did well.

- Northern Advocate

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