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81% of Kiwis facing streaming issues as broadband traffic breaks new record

        • 3 million New Zealanders may face regular disruption to internet
        • Broadband network stretched to capacity as Kiwis self isolate at home
        • Tips for preventing streaming dropouts

6 April, 2020, New Zealand –As New Zealand enters the second week of a nationwide shutdown, broadband networks are beginning to feel the strain according to Finder, a global comparison site recently launched in New Zealand.

A new Finder survey of 2,142 respondents revealed that 81% of New Zealanders – equivalent to 3 million people– are accessing video content online via streaming services like Netflix and Neon.

The survey results found that 68% of Kiwis currently experience dropouts when watching video content, while a third (32%) face the buffering wheel at least once per week when streaming.

Despite this, a whopping 43% of Kiwis – equivalent to over 950,000 households – are hesitant to switch broadband providers.

Kevin McHugh, Finder’s publisher in New Zealand, said that demand for high-speed internet is set to increase over the coming weeks as Kiwis remain cooped up at home.

“The network is going to see a strain, not only from those working remotely, but also from people looking for other entertainment options after the cancellation of sports and other regular viewing events.

“Schools and universities will also transition to online learning later this month after an early holiday period. This will place even more pressure on the network,” he said.

Network operator Chorus reported that Internet usage peaked at a record-breaking 3.03 terabytes per second last week– equivalent to 600,000 movies being streamed simultaneously. Overall, the peak has increased 34% from the normal baseline.

This comes as streaming giants Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube have all taken steps to reduce their bit rate over the past few weeks, sacrificing picture quality to help ease network traffic.

McHugh said that Kiwis who have been on the fence when it comes to switching should act now if they want to avoid streaming issues.

“If you’re working from home or practicing social-distancing and your Internet is lagging, it might be worth comparing providers to see if faster speed is on offer elsewhere.

“High speed broadband plans offer ultra fast Internet, with little to no delays when streaming. Alternatively, you can opt for an unlimited broadband plan with the same provider,” McHugh said.

How often do you experience buffering issues when streaming content at home?
I don’t stream videos19%
Never, I have a great connection13%
Couple of times per year5%

Source: Finder

Tips for preventing streaming dropouts

Stop using other devices. Your Internet can slow down dramatically if you’re using multiple devices at once. Before streaming content, pause any other downloads, slow your laptop (if you’re watching a smart TV), put your PS4 into rest mode–anything to help free up your bandwidth speed.

Drop the resolution. Lowering your video quality to standard definition means your bandwidth won’t have to work as hard, meaning you’ll be less likely to encounter buffering issues.

Consider using a VPN. Using a VPN (virtual private network) will allow you to connect to Netflix through another server located elsewhere in the world. If the server is quiet and has fewer users, it’s likely you’ll experience a smoother stream with fewer buffering issues.


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