Fibre internet connects a large family - and fuels a passion for sport.

Randal Scott says his wife Karene thinks he has a crush on Liverpool football coach Jurgen Klopp.

Scott, a lifelong Liverpool fan, is hugely enjoying the breakout 2019-2020 season that the runaway English Premier League leaders are having but "Karene says every time she sees me, I am watching Jurgen Klopp on Spark Sport; she thinks I have a crush on him".

Football is an important part of Scott's life – he is a relief teacher at Kings High School in Dunedin and a member of Caversham Football Club where he coaches the women's team; he's also involved with the club committee and junior teams.


But while football is significant, Scott says his family – daughter Ella and three sons Noah, Josiah and Micha – were the force behind a switch to fibre some time back for its reliability and a highly active online life.

A big part of that is their family WhatsApp group – which has 28 members and is used heavily for everyone to keep in touch.

"We are a big family," he says. "My parents had five kids – two sets of twins; I'm the only non-twin – and we are all married. There are 16 grandchildren so it is a great way to keep in touch with the whanau, what everyone is doing, birthday wishes and that sort of thing.

"It's used a lot and the main factor is just keeping in touch with such a lot of whanau. We do occasionally use it to debate issues – but it's primarily a family contact thing."

A sister lives in Sydney and her husband is an Everton fan – Liverpool's arch-rival from the EPL – and a Blues rugby fan.

"You can imagine the stick we give him," says Scott. "He disappears from the WhatsApp whanau chat from time to time…"

Scott says his whanau's WhatsApp group was an effective solution – and worked well when it came to connecting grandchildren and grandparents. Many families are right now finding that important with the coronavirus emergency.

New research by Chorus shows that New Zealanders aged 60 or over with fibre feel more connected to their immediate friends, family and children than those without. On average, more of those with fibre are connecting through instant social connections i.e. video calling, social media and online messaging than those without.


Now well in his 40s, Scott remembers when he and his family first signed up to the internet: "You got about 1 Gigabyte of data – enough to watch a full-length movie. We'd use hundreds of gigabytes a month now…my two youngest boys like Xbox and YouTube and one is keen to be a pilot so he is on simulators online a lot."

The adult members of the Scott family are no slugs when it comes to internet usage either. Karene, Scott says, is fond of watching a TV show in bed at the end of the day.

Scott himself is a busy user of the internet, also relying on email, Facebook and search engines to keep in touch with the world around him, including Caversham Football Club officials and to help organise events like a sports expo planned for Kings High School. He is also a devourer of news and sports news – "probably too many Liverpool stories."

Sport is clearly important to this family – Randal's brother Jeremy was last year made a life member of the renowned Green Island cricket club after racking up 200 senior games for the club, taking 354 wickets – once combining with Randal and younger brother Bradley to help win the national title in 2002.

His life membership was marked by an article in the Otago Daily Times, where he talked about the rigorous rivalry of brothers in backyard and other forms of cricket: ''Randal was pretty tough on me and I was pretty tough on Bradley. I'm sure Jeff Crowe was pretty tough on Martin Crowe and Dayle Hadlee was tough on Richard Hadlee,'' he said.

That sibling rivalry played a part in his younger brother's rise. Bradley Scott played 66 first-class games, 103 one-day matches and 61 T20 games for Otago and Northern Districts.

"But apart from football and sport, the internet is really about the family," Randal says. "It becomes a bit of a way of life; it's a fantastic tool and it is also all about keeping in touch."

With such a heavy-usage household, fibre seemed a must: "That's why I got it. Sometimes, under the old system [copper] we had, I'd see the screen freeze when I was watching the sports news – so I thought, with all of us online, fibre seemed a good idea."

The frozen screen doesn't happen any more and Scott is one of Spark Sport's happier users – saying fibre seems to mean that he hasn't experienced some of the technical problems other users have