Tens of thousands of consumers could save more than $400 a year on their broadband bill, according to BroadbandCompare.co.nz.

Broadband Compare is a free New Zealand website that helps people find the best broadband plan for their needs.

Gavin Male, Broadband Compare's chief executive and founder, says New Zealand internet providers put out their best tariffs and offers at the beginning of the year but many users failed to take advantage of them.

The first three months of the year are the busiest for new broadband connections, aligning with the seasonal peak of people moving house and students starting university. Broadband providers put out their best deals during that period to try to increase sales and subscriber numbers.

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Research conducted by independent market insight agency The Interpreters, on behalf of Broadband Compare, shows that the majority of users on the broadband comparison website switched provider because they moved house.

New analysis of broadband usage has found that many New Zealand households would save more than $400 a year by switching providers, Mr Male said. However, with 100-plus internet providers in New Zealand, consumers should compare the options to find the most suitable plan for their needs.

"Of course, the deals available at the start of the year are great for people who are moving house or starting university and already need to change their broadband connection, but a lot of people just sit there paying a much higher amount than they need to," Mr Male said.

"With the ultra-fast fibre broadband rollout continuing at pace and the internet playing an increasingly important role in our everyday lives, hundreds of Kiwis are spending more than they need to on a below par broadband experience."

Mr Male said plan price was the primary influencer when consumers selected a broadband provider and there were offers that worked out at about $60 a month for an unlimited data broadband plan.

The figures

Manawatu-Whanganui households are consuming record amounts of broadband data as online viewing habits change.

Chorus has released statistics comparing data use on its network in December last year with December 2016 figures.

Data use within the region included:

• Rangitikei 134GB, an increase of 58 per cent
• Ruapehu 122GB, an increase of 53 per cent
• Whanganui 108GB, an increase of 37 per cent

Nationally, the average New Zealand home used about 174GB of broadband data in December.

Broadband speeds are also continuing to rise. In December 2017 the average download speeds, measured in Megabits per second (Mbps), in the region were:

• Rangitikei 26Mbps, an increase of 53 per cent
• Ruapehu 27Mbps, an increase of 59 per cent
• Whanganui 29Mbps, an increase of 53 per cent

Nationwide, the average connection speed is 64Mpbs.

Video and smart devices were the big growth drivers for data use in 2017, Chorus network strategy manager Kurt Rodgers said.

"People's viewing habits have shifted online.

"It's now very mainstream to watch television shows and movies via an app on a smart television or tablet.

"Smart televisions have also become mainstream. You don't need to be an IT geek to watch online television anymore – it's all available from your television remote control.

"Smartphones are also increasingly being used to watch video, not just television but also social media and news; and most of this smartphone usage is via the home Wi-Fi network rather than the mobile network.

"We might still call these things mobile phones but their primary use these days is as a Wi-Fi-connected screen rather than as a telephone."