Super-fast Broadband Plans: How Fast is Fast Enough?

If you are looking for a super-fast fibre broadband connection at the best possible price, Canstar reveals your options.

Fast internet is all well and good, but what if you’re really looking to crank it up another notch? The UFB rollout has paved the way for increasingly super-fast broadband offerings, and retailers are bringing plans to market decked out to deliver next-level speeds.

As Crown Infrastructure Partners’ Quarterly Connectivity Update for the second quarter of this year shows, New Zealanders’ need for speed continues to grow, with 67% of UFB services at 100Mbps, while the average speed of UFB services is 229Mbps.

Amid this shift to faster broadband, how can you determine how fast is fast enough, and whether your household requires a super-fast plan? And, if so, what are some of the super-fast deals on offer from retailers?

Broadband: How fast is fast?

Broadband speed, which is measured in Mbps (megabits per second), refers to how fast data can be transferred over a connection. The speeds on offer from UFB provide a significant step up over previous technologies.

To put it into context, popular UFB plans offer download/upload speeds of 100/20Mbps. This compares to maximum speeds of up to 24/1Mbps available via ADSL, and around 70/10Mbps offered by VDSL plans.

This is, however, just the beginning. As there is far greater scope for faster UFB speeds. Retailers around the country are already offering a range of plans with download speeds nearing 1Gbps (gigabits per second: 1000Mbps).

In addition, UFB speeds are also poised get a further boost in the coming years. New technologies such as Hyperfibre, Chorus’ recently launched fibre technology, delivers speeds of up to 4/4Gbps.

Why do you need fast broadband?

With increasingly fast broadband speeds on offer, consumers need to weigh up just how fast is fast enough. It’s important to carefully consider the type of online services your household uses, the frequency of use and the range of devices connecting.

For many households, 100/20Mbps will likely be more than enough at present. However as broadband capacity continues to increase, it can be expected that increasingly data-intensive services will continue to become available.

As a guide, the following are the Mbps speeds required for some of the more data-intensive services commonly used by households:

  • Video streaming – Netflix recommends a download speed of 3Mbps per stream for playing SD-quality TV shows and movies, 5Mbps for HD and 25Mbps for UHD.
  • Gaming – Microsoft advises via its Xbox website that minimum download/upload speeds of 3/0.5Mbps are recommended for Xbox One online gaming.
  • Video calling – Microsoft advises via its Skype website that recommended HD video calling download/upload speeds are 1.5/1.5Mbps.

It’s worthwhile keeping in mind the cumulative impact of a range of devices accessing a broadband service. If there are a number of people in your household simultaneously accessing video streaming, gaming, video calling and other services, it will add up.

From smartphones to smart TVs, laptops, desktops and tablets, along with a range of other devices, such as smart speakers and security systems, the number of connected devices is growing, and it may well be a case of the faster the better to accommodate these devices.

If your household’s broadband service is struggling, a faster plan may be required. However, take the time to assess what you need, and also keep in mind that your home network will need to be configured to deliver speed.

Retailer plans

The following are some of the faster broadband plans on offer from retailers. Of course, faster plans come at a greater cost, and households will need to match their speed requirements to their budget.

When deciding on which plan is best for your household, keep in mind contract length, whether plans come with a router included, whether a router will need to be purchased, or if a BYO router is an option, and if they also require a home phone line.

Now Broadband

Now

Now’s Ultra and Epic plans deliver speeds of 900/400Mbps (its Epic plan includes a number of additional benefits focused on tech support), while its Unlimited plan provides 100/20Mbps speeds.

Now’s plans are available on 12-month contracts, with customers having the options of using a BYO router or purchasing a router (for a one-off fee or via monthly payments), adding a home phone line, and purchasing an in-home or remote tech assist membership.

Plan Monthly data Download/Upload (Mbps) Cost (per month)*
Unlimited Unlimited 100/20 $85
Ultra Unlimited 900/400 $99
Epic Unlimited 900/400 $115

MyRepublic

MyRepublic’s fastest fibre offerings are its Fibre Pro and Gamer Fibre Pro plans, delivering speeds of up to 950/500Mbps, while its Fibre 100 and Gamer Fibre 100 plans respectively offer speeds of up to 100/20Mbps.

MyRepublic offers its plans on 12-month contracts, or on a month-to-month basis. Its plans are available with a range of router options (including BYO), while you also have the option of adding a home phone line.

Plan Monthly data Download/Upload (Mbps) Cost (per month)*
Fibre 100 Unlimited 100/20 $79
Gamer Fibre 100 Unlimited 100/20 $85
Fibre Pro Unlimited 950/500 $85
Gamer Fibre Pro Unlimited 950/500 $95

Stuff Fibre

Stuff Fibre’s Boost plan boasts speeds of 950/500Mbps, while its Base plan delivers speeds of 100/20Mbps, with a number of different plan options available providing different contract lengths.

Stuff’s plans are available on monthly, 12-month or 24-month contracts, and come with a router included (with the option to upgrade the router). There is also the option of adding Stuff’s Voice App (allowing for mobile access to a landline number).

Plan Monthly data Download/Upload (Mbps) Cost (per month)*
Base Unlimited 100/20 No term: $89.95

12 months: $79.95 (includes four months half price)

24 months: $79.95 (includes six months half price)

Boost Unlimited 950/500 No term: $104.95

12 months: $89.95 (includes four months half price)

24 months: $89.95 (includes six months half price)

Bigpipe Broadband Logo

Bigpipe

Bigpipe’s fastest plans are its Elite and Pro plans, respectively delivering speeds of 700-900/400-500Mbps and 200/20Mbps, while its Expert plan provides speeds of 100/100Mbps. Bigpipe’s plans are exclusively broadband-focused (no home phone line, or other bundle deals).

Customers who sign up for 12 months receive a free Bigpipe Smart Modem. Those who sign up for a monthly plan have the option of purchasing the Bigpipe Smart Modem for $99 or using a BYO modem.

Plan Monthly data Download/Upload (Mbps) Cost (per month)*
Expert Unlimited 100/100 $89
Pro Unlimited 200/20 $99
Elite Unlimited 700-900/400-500 $109

 

*Further information on pricing can be found at individual retailer websites. This should be used as a starter guide and not considered an actual quote.

Researching the fastest broadband plans

Ultimately, if you’re after the fastest broadband deal, it’s always worth doing a little research. To help you get a clearer picture of broadband providers in NZ, Canstar Blue rates all the big providers in the market annually. We survey thousands of broadband customers and ask them to score their providers across categories including Value for Money, Network Performance and Customer Service.

Canstar Blue’s 2020 review of NZ internet providers compares NOW, 2degrees, Bigpipe, Contact, MyRepublic, Orcon, Skinny, Slingshot, Spark, Stuff Fibre, Trustpower, Vodafone and Voyager, and awards the best our 5 Star rating:

See Our Ratings Methodology

The table above is an abridged version of our full research, so to find out more about NZ’s best broadband providers, just click on the big button below:

Compare broadband providers for free with Canstar!

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