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NZ's pandemic lockdown proves point of the need for fibre - Chorus

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Yesterday’s Measuring Broadband New Zealand report from the Commerce Commission revealed that fixed line broadband connections, unlike other technologies, experienced no significant decrease in download speeds during lockdown, despite record levels of online activity.

The report, by the Commerce Commission’s UK-based independent testing partner SamKnows, uses speed and internet performance data collected from volunteers across New Zealand. The latest report covers the period 01 February and 29 February 2020 but includes two charts that use data collected up to 22 April to analyse the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown.

The report highlights that download speed by plan remained steady for households with a dedicated fibre or copper connection, regardless of the time of day or night.

Additionally, the report shows the responsiveness (latency) of the fibre network - the delay between a connection requesting an action and this taking place - consistently out-performed all other broadband technologies. On the fibre network, 90 percent of latency tests conducted were below 20ms. This is particularly important for latency-sensitive applications such as voice and video calling and for online gaming where a higher latency can result in lag during gameplay.

Chorus CEO, JB Rousselot, said: "Broadband in New Zealand was really put to the test by our pandemic response, so it’s encouraging that speeds have held up so well. Fixed line broadband, and fibre specifically, has helped people to keep working, learning and staying connected with family and friends."

Research commissioned by Chorus has also shown that New Zealand’s internet usage patterns look set to change beyond the COVID-19 pandemic response.

"The research has highlighted a sea change of opinion around the importance of broadband with nearly three quarters of those surveyed agreeing that broadband is now ‘very important’, up from 50 percent pre-COVID-19.

"With prolonged experience of working and learning from home, more than half of us now foresee increasing the amount of time spent working from home. This will likely be fostered by businesses having invested in new audio and video conferencing tools and cloud services, alongside staff seeing the positive benefits to work life balance without the need to commute," said Mr Rousselot.

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