New Zealanders gobbling data at growing rates

Chorus has released figures for household data consumption saying it has doubled in 18 months to 100Gbytes per household and is on track to reach 170Gbytes by mid 2017.

Chorus has released figures for household data consumption saying it has doubled in 18 months to 100 gigabytes per household and is on track to reach 170 gigabytes by mid-2017.

This rate of growth is well in excess of that forecast by Cisco in the latest edition of its Visual Networking Index, released in June and generally regarded as the benchmark for Internet traffic forecasts. Cisco put the average data consumption in New Zealand per capita (rather than per household) at 25.8GB in 2015 and forecast that it would take until 2020 to almost double, to 50GB.

Rosalie Nelson, head of insights at Chorus, attributed the growth the increasing popularity of Internet video, and to an increase in the number of connected devices each individual owns. “Already more than half (53 percent) of New Zealanders now watch internet TV and the number of online film and TV platforms has exploded … [and] two thirds of adult New Zealanders now own or have access to three or more smart devices,” Nelson said.

Cisco says New Zealand's consumer internet video traffic grew 16 percent in 2015 and would be 87 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2020, up from 77 percent in 2015. According to Cisco’s VNI, there was an average of 4.4 connected devices per person in New Zealand in 2015 and this will rise to 7.7 by 2020, a total of 36.5 million.

Cisco is tipping the next generation of video, 4K or ultra high definition to drive a further boost in video traffic. It says 4K TVs will account for 55 percent of all flat panel TVs in 2020, compared to 3.8 percent in 2015.

Chorus, however, is looking beyond television to the next big growth driver: virtual reality (VR). Nelson said: “In terms of future growth in data consumption – we see another big spike coming through the pipeline as the focus in entertainment shifts from increasingly high-definition to immersion with the arrival of virtual reality and 360 degree viewing technologies.”

Chorus might be less keen to explore the main driver of virtual reality. Several reports suggest this will be VR porn. One report quoted an un-named analyst saying the industry would be worth US$1 billion globally by 2025, and a “VR porn” festival in Tokyo’s Akihabara district earlier this month was closed down by police because of overcrowding.