How to make sure your broadband plan suits your needs

Couple Streaming Netflix online
Monday, November 19, 2018

Remember the good old days of the internet? Tying up your phone line…listening to the sounds of static and beeps….and watching pictures download line by line. Ever since the early days of dial-up internet connections consumers have been hungry for faster internet speeds. And luckily the internet has come a long way!

The way we use the internet has changed drastically over the years. Now instead of turning on the TV, we log into services like Netflix, Lightbox or Neon. And the demand for bandwidth is increasing as we rely more on the internet for streaming television shows, movies, Youtube, gaming, working and keeping in touch. This means most homes need faster internet speeds to deliver the extra data required by the household. 

But, how much bandwidth do you actually need, and what are the best value plans?

Use our guide below to help determine the speed of your current service, what internet speed you do need, and the types of internet connection that are available.

Check your current speed

The best place to start to determine the best value internet plan for you, is to check your current broadband speed.  Our Broadband speed test will measure the upload and download speeds of your internet connection in just a couple of clicks.

The main numbers to look for in your speed test result is:

  • How many megabits per second (Mbs) your connection can carry, this is the most important number for streaming videos. 
     
  • Upload speed, which tells you how quickly you can upload files like photos, videos or websites
     
  • Your ping (latency) measurement tells you how long it takes data to travel from one computer to another on the network. Jitter is the variation in that response time. Latency is important for gaming and real time applications like video streaming or voice over internet (VoIP), and the lower the numbers the better. 
     

Woman frustrated with slow internet

What internet speed do I need?

Nothing is more frustrating than a slow internet connection, but the speed you need depends on how you plan to use the internet in your home. The guide below outlines the megabits per second (Mbs) you need to browse the internet, or stream movies or content, in single or multiple-user homes. 

  • 5Mbs – If you just plan to check emails or do a bit of browsing on the internet then around 5 megabits per second (Mbs) will be fine. You may find that media-heavy websites that have lots of photos and other elements, will be a bit slow to load. Netflix guidelines say that 5Mbs is the speed required for streaming high-definition video, but you may experience some buffering. 
     
  • 15-20Mbs – will allow for High Definition (HD) streaming without buffering. It is also sufficient if you want a second device streaming at the same time. 
     
  • 25Mbs – Netflix recommends at least 25 Mbs to watch ultra-high definition (4K) video, but you may experience some buffering, especially if more than one person is streaming content in the house.  
     
  • 70Mbs and above – is sufficient for streaming ultra-high definition (4K) videos in a home where multiple devices are streaming content or games. 
     

What are my connection options?

Fibre

The fastest connection option is Ultra-Fast Broadband (fibre). One of the main advantages of fibre is that it offers a constant speed, so the service won’t fluctuate like older broadband services that rely on copper cable technology. 

The standard version of fibre offers between 30-50 Mbs download speed. This is a similar speed as standard broadband, but a main benefit is that the connection doesn’t fluctuate like older broadband connections, which helps when several devices are streaming at the same time. 

You can choose a faster fibre plan that offers 100Mbs, which is more than enough for most users, and means you’ll never buffer even when streaming 4K videos.

Gigabit fibre plans are for hardcore users – it’s fast enough to stream ultra-high definition movies to 40 different devices simultaneously!

Fibre Broadband is rolling out across New Zealand, with 87% of New Zealanders expected to be able to access fibre by 2022.  Use our address checker to see what is available in your area.

If you are hungry for data, check out Broadband Compare’s fastest plans.

VDSL

VDSL runs over existing copper lines and delivers much fast download and upload speeds than ADSL. The technology uses the copper lines more efficiently than ADSL and can offer faster speeds of up to 70Mbs. Depending on where you live and your provider some VDSL users experience better speeds compared to entry level Ultrafast Broadband. 

VDSL is available in roughly 60% of New Zealand.  Use our address checker to see what is available in your area.

Check out Broadband Compare’s best VDSL deals.

ADSL (standard broadband)

ADSL is the most commonly available type of broadband available in New Zealand and runs on existing copper phone lines. ADSL can offer speeds of up to 24Mbs, but this varies depending on factors like your provider, the distance between your home and the provider’s location and any noise or interference on the copper lines. 

ADSL is available across the majority of New Zealand. Use our address checker to see what is available in your area. 

Which Broadband Plan is Best?

Check your current speed so you have a starting point – is your current service too slow? Then think about how you plan to use the internet to decide to decide the type of connection may be best for you. 

Broadband Compare can help you find the best broadband deal for you by comparing 2634 broadband plans from 134 Internet Service Providers. Simply enter your address into the Broadband Compare address checker to see what is available in your area. 

Ultra-Fast Broadband (fibre) is rolling out across New Zealand, with 87% of New Zealanders expected to be able to access fibre by the end of 2022. Fibre plan pricing is becoming more competitive as the technology rolls out across the country.  It is the fastest growing type of plan among Broadband Compare customers, who are looking for a consistent high speed service. If Fibre is available in your area, it may well be the best and most price competitive option. 

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