Broadband providers in New Zealand offer a lot of different plans. Whatever you want or need, there’s always something to match your needs. As internet technology becomes more and more advanced, these broadband companies continue to offer more tailored plans to suit their consumers' growing needs. While having a lot of choices is always great, it can be really confusing, especially for non-techie Kiwis.
These terms and jargons can be a bit overwhelming, but they’re simpler than they actually are! In our mission to help you find better deals, we’re here to explain the most common broadband connections in New Zealand.
Fibre broadband is the fastest broadband type currently available in New Zealand. Under this broadband connection are several broadband types. The most common ones are Fibre 100 and Fibre+, but there are even more options from other providers. The type of fibre broadband and its availability varies greatly depending on your location.
This is serviced in your area either through Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) or Fibre to the Premises (FTTP). FTTC simply means your home or office internet is connected to a roadside cabinet before delivering to your address. On the other hand, FTTP means your internet is serviced directly to your address, without stopping at a roadside cabinet.
As mentioned, fibre broadband comes in many different types. Take a look at this comprehensive list of fibre broadband connections available across the country.
Hyperfibre is the fastest broadband connection in New Zealand. Since it’s a relatively new technology, only a few providers offer it in selected areas, so not a lot of Kiwis can get this plan. As of early 2021, Orcon and MyRepublic offer them mostly in urban centres like Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown.
Typically, hyperfibre broadband plans are utilised by businesses that need seamless internet for their simultaneous heavy use. This is ideal due to its speeds, ranging from 2-4Gbps. But if you need this for your gaming or streaming needs, you can always get them as long as they’re available at your address.
Gigabit fibre — also known as Fibre+ — has slower speeds than hyperfibre, but it’s more widely available throughout the country. Several providers offer them throughout the major urban centres and even in some rural areas of New Zealand. Mostly, big internet companies sell Fibre+ broadband plans including Vodafone, Spark, Orcon, 2degrees, among others.
While this isn’t as fast as hyperfibre broadband, it can still handle simultaneous heavy usage just fine with its speeds of up to 1Gbps. From streaming, working from home, remote learning, downloading and uploading files on the cloud, and more, you can experience seamless internet both for your home and business needs.
Standard fibre — better known as Fibre 100 — is the most widely available fibre broadband in New Zealand. Aside from areas where Kiwis live and work, it’s also available even in some remote communities. This is big thanks to the continuous ultra-fast fibre (UFB) roll-out by the government and leading broadband providers.
While it may not be as blazing fast as other fibre broadband in the country at only up to 100Mbps, this should still be more than enough for most of your online needs. It’s highly recommended that you switch at least to standard broadband for stable internet.
Copper broadband uses the traditional copper cables from the established telephone lines across the country. Under this broadband type, ADSL and VDSL are categorised. This is one of the earliest broadband types in New Zealand, and they’re still one of the most used internet connections in areas where UFB hasn’t rolled out yet.
From the provider’s line, the internet is usually delivered in a roadside cabinet first. Then, this roadside cabinet will distribute the connection throughout the community. This makes it prone to bandwidth loss because there’s an exchange between your home and the provider’s line. It’s not a direct connection, so expect slower speeds compared to fibre.
While both ADSL and VDSL use copper lines, there’s a key difference between them. Here’s what you need to know about the most common copper connections in New Zealand:
While VDSL is still on copper technology, it uses more advanced cables to deliver broadband, without losing much bandwidth and speeds. If you’re within 1.2kms from the roadside cabinet, you can usually take advantage of VDSL. It’s not as fast as fibre at only up to 70Mbps, but this should be the best alternative in the market.
The great thing is, the Rural Broadband Initiative by the government and leading rural broadband providers has made VDSL widely more available throughout rural New Zealand. This should be more than enough for casual users and even heavy users living in a small household with 3-4 members only.
ADSL uses the old telephone cables across the country, dating back to the 70s and 80s. If you’re located more than 1.2kms from the roadside cabinet, this is likely to be the copper connection you can connect to. If you have ADSL2+, meaning your address is within a 2km radius from the cabinet, your broadband speeds can reach as fast as 20Mbps.
However, if you have the standard ADSL, meaning your address is within a 6k radius from the cabinet, your broadband speeds can only reach as fast as 10Mbps. With improving internet tech across New Zealand, this broadband connection is slowly phasing out. This may still be available in the most remote parts of the country.
Rural broadband is an umbrella term for all the broadband types available in rural New Zealand. Of course, some rural centres across the country can now take advantage of copper and even fibre broadband. As mentioned, this is big thanks to the RBI. For most rural communities, providers offer plans specifically for these locations.
The term rural broadband is coined because these internet connections are only available in rural NZ. Some other popular rural connections are satellite broadband and 4G LTE broadband. They’re both rural, but they work very differently.
Check out the most common rural broadband connections in New Zealand.
From the name itself, satellite broadband has a satellite dish attached to the roof of your home. This receives the signals distributed by broadband towers within a 50km radius from your location or within line of sight. Unlike the previous broadband types on this list, you’re not connected by any cables and rely only on wireless signals.
If your home is located in a community where no cables have been installed yet, this is the best option for you. Once you’re within the range of the broadband tower, your internet speeds can reach up to 70Mbps. The caveat is, it’s prone to interference as it’s not tapping into any cables that deliver internet straight to your address.
If you’re one of the many Kiwis who choose to live on the go, 4G LTE broadband may just be the perfect broadband for you. Since New Zealand has a complex network of mobile towers, rural broadband providers take advantage of them to deliver speeds of up to 36/10Mbps. However, this usually comes with capped data credits.
Some 4G LTE plans are also tweaked to take advantage of RBI signals whenever possible. This is ideal for activities that require faster internet speeds such as streaming and downloading files. Depending on your location, 4G-RBI broadband plans can reach speeds of up to 70Mbps.
For a more comprehensive comparison of their similarities and differences, check out this list. Do note that these are only the general information, and some providers may offer more or less. If you’re looking for precise and accurate plans, compare your best options using glimp’s free comparison tool.
|Speeds||Data credits||Price range||Availability|
|Hyperfibre||Up to 4Gbps||Mostly unlimited||$150-200/month||Selected areas in urban centres|
|Fibre+||Up to 1Gbps||Mostly unlimited||$85-130/month||All urban and selected rural centres|
|Fibre 100||Up to 100Mbps||Mostly unlimited||$70-100/month||Widely available throughout NZ|
|VDSL||Up to 70Mbps||Mostly unlimited||$70-105/month||Widely available throughout NZ|
|ADSL||Up to 20Mbps||Some plans are capped||$85-105/month||Widely available throughout NZ|
|Satellite||Up to 70Mbps||Mostly capped||$50-300/month||Mostly rural and remote areas|
|4G LTE||Up to 36Mbps||Mostly capped||$50-200/month||Mostly rural and remote areas|
Of course, fibre is the way to go! It’s the fastest and most reliable out of all the broadband types on the list. If you can take advantage of hyperfibre, get it for your home or business for guaranteed stable speeds. If speed is the only consideration, fibre may look like the best option out there. However, it’s just one of the many things that make up your plan.
You also have to consider your location, budget, the extras and add-ons included in your plan, and online activities, among many others. It may be better to get Fibre 100 or VDSL, especially if you’re not that much of a heavy user. If you still find a landline useful these days, make sure to sign up with a provider that offers them, as some companies aren’t selling them anymore.
To make sure you're getting the best deal, use glimp for tailored results. It considers all factors — from your budget, location, data credits, to termination and installation fees, to make sure you got the right deal.
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