Broadband use skyrockets in Marlborough on back of streaming and online gaming

Broadband use jumps sharply at 3.30pm in Marlborough, as children come home from school. (File photo)

FAIRFAX NZ Broadband use jumps sharply at 3.30pm in Marlborough, as children come home from school. (File photo) The internet is the future of entertainment, not television, Marlborough residents say, as figures show a huge increase in broadband use across the region.

Theories for the increase include Sky TV customers taking up online streaming instead, and more people gaming online than ever before. Households in Marlborough used 58 per cent more broadband data in April than they did in April last year, telecommunications provider Chorus has revealed.

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Blenheim gamer Corey Vis said he was surprised by the large increase, but he and his friends were using the internet much more than they used to. READ MORE:
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Vis spent about six hours playing games on the internet each day. He started online gaming after “someone” spilt hot chocolate on his Play Station 3. He hoped to be a professional gamer one day, he said.

His favourite game, League of Legends, was a battle arena game where he could work with his friends in Dunedin or Wellington, communicating through Skype video calls. “I record my gameplay then put it on YouTube,” Vis said. “Lots of people film themselves talking about gaming and upload it.”

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Technology was becoming cheaper, which could be part of the reason for the increase in broadband use, Vis said.

“It’s the increase in technology, computers and iPads and that. I think it’s just that everyone is using it now, and using it more.” Chorus network strategy manager Kurt Rodgers agreed.

“Homes now have several connected devices at any one time, so we’re all using far more data.” Internet use in Marlborough jumped sharply at 3.30pm, Rodgers said. “It is unlikely to be a coincidence that it’s the same time certain data-hungry members of the family wander in from school.”

Usage peaked between 8pm and 10.30pm. Marlborough’s increase followed the national trend – the average New Zealand home used about 150 gigabytes of broadband data in April compared to about 101GB in April last year, Rodgers said. Blenheim man Sam Tennent said he was spending a lot more time streaming movies online, and moving away from standard television.

“It certainly cuts down my TV viewing … that seems to be the way of the future, moving away from satellite TV.” The roll-out of the Ultra-Fast Broadband Initiative improved internet speed for thousands of residents in Marlborough. Faster internet made streaming movies and television shows smoother, and viewers did not have to wait for videos to buffer.

But Tennent said he knew a lot of people who were disappointed with the phone line that came with fibre plans. “Phone systems through fibre tend to be a bit more unreliable than a normal internet connection. You get cut off in the middle of telephone calls and you have to ring them back.”

Tennent had researched streaming providers such as Netflix and Lightbox, but felt he had access to enough free content on sites such as TVNZ OnDemand and ThreeNow, he said. “You’re limited to what those providers prescribe, but that was probably the only limitation for me, well, and that you have to pay.” Tennent thought Sky TV had probably lost a lot of customers to the internet.

Sky TV declined to comment. The company reported losing 36,544 customers in the second half of last year. Vis was happy with Netflix, but when he moved out of home he would probably research streaming providers to make sure he was getting the best deal, he said.

– The Marlborough Express

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  1. ^ Ultra-fast broadband a let down for some Blenheim residents (
  2. ^ Broadband, cellphone scheme proposed for Marlborough Sounds (
  3. ^ Solar-powered internet welcomed by Marlborough rural users (
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