There was a 37 percent increase in fixed broadband data use during the year to June 2020. The Commerce Commission’s Annual Telecommunications Monitoring report notes the average New Zealand broadband connection chewed through 284GB a month, up from 207GB a year earlier.

The report says most broadband technologies held up well during a year where norms were upended by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns.

Yet the Commerce Commission noted a significant performance decrease for fixed wireless broadband users. The average fixed wireless speed dropped 25 percent during the year.

This drop happened as the number of fixed wireless customers climbed 16 percent during the year. The number of fibre broadband users increased from a little over 800,000 to more than a million. By the time the report period closed around two-thirds of those who could connect to fibre had chosen the technology.

Traditional landline numbers dropped 12 percent during the year.

Retail telecommunications revenue dropped four percent during the year. Mobile revenue was down three percent. This was despite the growth and the importance of telecommunications at a time workers and students were sent home and asked to connect remotely.

Mobile data consumption continued to grow. It was up 20 percent during the year. The report notes the increased popularity of unlimited or ‘endless’ mobile data plans. These now account for 14 percent of on-account plans.

The Commerce Commission says New Zealand ranks number 12 in the OECD for average broadband download speed. It is well ahead of the OECD average and more than twice that of Australia, which is a laggard by international standards.