Chorus says it made a record number of fibre connections in August. During the month more than 16,700 new connections were installed. The company puts the rapid increase in demand down to consumers preparing to live stream next year’s Rugby World Cup as well as more content moving online.

In April Spark announced it and TVNZ had won the rights to broadcast the 2019 Rugby World Cup. While some games will be shown on free-to-air television, Spark plans to provide streaming coverage and will sell subscription packages to consumers. Spark says it will not restrict sales to its own broadband customers. 

The first stage of the UFB network will be almost complete by the time the Rugby World Cup kicks off and some later fibre will also be in place. Around 80 percent of the population should have access to fast broadband by then. Getting everyone connected in time remains a challenge. Spark's own communications has warned rugby fans not to leave it until the last minute to make the switch to fibre. It seems they have listened. 

Ed Hyde, Chorus chief customer officer says: “We’ve been really focussed on making the fibre installation experience more streamlined because we know consumers love fibre once they have it. New Zealanders are streaming more and more television, music, movies and games, and are downloading large files, often over multiple devices at the same time, and fibre plays a pivotal role in this.”

Chorus had already seen a surge in fibre uptake. The company reported it completed 156,000 new connections during the past year. At the end of the last financial year the uptake on the Chorus network reached 45 percent. This number is far beyond the projections made at the time the UFB network was announced in 2009. 

Hyde says: “Thanks to the availability of better broadband, the average speed on Chorus’ network is now over 82.8Mbps, and on average households are using 215GB of data a month.

"It’s fantastic to see people using fibre broadband to enhance their lives, both personally and from a business perspective. It is transforming New Zealand’s economy, connecting us more closely than ever with the rest of the world, and allowing Kiwis to keep up with global trends, such as streaming content.”