What Is a Good Internet Speed for My Household?

What Is a Good Internet Speed for My Household?

Whether you’re streaming your favourite shows, scrolling your favourite social media, gaming, video calling, or all of the above at one time, you’ll want an internet connection that can keep it all running smoothly. So how fast should your internet be, and what is a good internet speed?

Finding a good internet speed isn’t necessarily as straightforward as it sounds. For example, if you’re on an old-school ADSL connection, and are pushing 10Mbps, that’s pretty good. Well, for ADSL at least…

In 2022, 300Mbps fibre plans are relatively commonplace.

Furthermore, speeds that may be good for households of one or two casual users may not be suitable for large households full of gamers and hopeful TikTok stars.

So a good internet speed is somewhat subjective. But, in the below article, we look at what constitutes a good internet speed for your needs, and why your current broadband may not be hacking it.

What’s a good internet speed?

In New Zealand, fibre broadband is the most popular type of internet plan. And the current standard, 300/100 (300Mbps download speeds/100Mbps upload speeds) is, for most people, a good internet speed.

In fact, the Commerce Commission’s Measuring Broadband New Zealand (MBNZ) June 2022 report states that Fibre 300/100 “will cover most users’ requirements” and is easily capable of streaming four simultaneous UHD Netflix streams.

Furthermore, as most broadband providers have fibre 300/100 as their standard option, such plans are usually competitively priced and often come with added discounts and add-ons.

What other options are there?

For larger households that have one or two heavy internet users, it’s easy enough to upgrade to a 900/500 fibre plan. This doesn’t require any extra set-up, but provides you with a heap more bandwidth which may be suitable if:

  • Your household is on a 300/100 plan and is facing bottlenecks
  • Everyone enjoys streaming separately (all watching Netflix on your own devices at the same time)
  • People enjoy online gaming and need minimal lag/latency
  • People undertake work/hobbies that involve large projects/file sharing and rendering online
  • Everyone is running multiple devices at one (each member is using a laptop, phone and more at the same time)

Or, for smaller households, some providers offer a slower 100/20 fibre plan. Not too long ago this was actually the standard. It was only last year that Chorus upgraded the network, allowing for 300/100 plans to become the new standard speed. So, for smaller households or more casual users, this could be a plenty good internet speed.

For really casual users or those with no access to fibre, a wireless broadband plan could be a good option. Speeds are significantly slower, but plans can be cheaper. They are also simple to set up and fast enough for streaming without issue.

Finding a good internet speed for your household

The only question you really need to ask yourself is, “Are my current speeds fast enough?”

If you are currently able to stream and browse to your heart’s content, then your internet speeds are probably good for you. There’s no need to pay for top speeds if you don’t use them. Even if you are still on an old ADSL/VDSL connection, if it’s doing the job, it might be good enough for you!

However, even if your current speeds aren’t causing you issues, there’s still reason to shop around. Are there better deals on offer? Can you get a cheaper plan? Or a faster plan for the same price? There are also add-ons like discounts for bundling with a phone plan, free streaming subscriptions and more to consider.

Are you experiencing buffering, lagging, or slow load times?

If you’re Netflix is buffering, or a quick Google search turns into a slow one, or if your video calls are closer to 180p than 1080p, then you may need to look into a faster internet plan. It might just be that your internet plan’s speed isn’t good enough for your requirements.

However, if you’re already on a fibre plan and are experiencing slow internet, there could be another reason for your reduced speeds. And it might be worth exploring those options first.

For example, a quick online speedtest will tell you what your current speeds are. You can then compare them on the below table to get an idea whether your plan is running at the pace it should be (and is still too slow for your needs) or whether something else might be the issue.

Average internet speeds by broadband type

The Commerce Commission’s Measuring Broadband New Zealand (MBNZ) June 2022 report provides the following rundown of average 24/7 speeds:

Broadband type Download (Mbps) Upload (Mbps)
Fixed Wireless 35.7 17.9
ADSL 8.6 0.7
VDSL 40 10.1
UFB – Fibre 300 310.5 110.3
UFB – Fibre Max 859.1 502.7

My internet speeds are below where they should be. Why?

If a speed test has revealed your internet is lagging below where it should be, it could be due to:

Network congestion

For starters, just because you’re on a 300/100 fibre plan doesn’t mean you’ll get those speeds all the time. If the network is extra busy (nationally, and also from multiple users within your household) you could see speeds below that. So don’t panic.

For example, a quick speed test of my own 300/100 fibre plan while writing this had me sitting at 292Mbps/96Mbps, while the above table shows that the average Kiwi on a 900/500 plan is actually only getting average download speeds of 859Mbps.

But, if your speeds are significantly below the advertised speeds, then there may be another reason for the issue.

Check the frequency

Speaking of network congestion, most modern routers are dual-band, meaning you have two frequencies to choose from, 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

2.4GHz offers better range, while 5GHz offers faster speeds. Use them accordingly. If you’re far from the router, choose 2.4GHz. Or if you’re doing something that needs high speeds (such as gaming) choose 5GHz.

It’s also important not to overload one frequency, as this can cause congestion. So don’t simply stick everything on 5GHz for the sake of it. Especially as our homes are becoming increasingly ‘smart’. Smart lights and speakers don’t need to be clogging up the 5GHz frequency.

Chuck low-priority devices onto the slower band, and reserve 5GHz for your commonly used devices that need faster speeds. Or, better yet, look at making the most of wired ethernet connections.

Check your router

Is your router far away from your device? Is it blocked by multiple walls, or is it sitting behind an appliance? All this can impact the range and connection you are getting. Furthermore, is your router up for the job at all? An old router laying about the house can connect to the internet without issue. But that doesn’t mean it can connect at the optimum level.

→Related article: How to Choose the Right Router For Your Home

If your router is a few years old, it may not be capable of matching your internet plan’s top speeds. Modern routers often come with new features, such as Quality of Service (QoS), which allows you to prioritise certain bandwidth. For example, you can prioritise your Xbox, to keep that running as smoothly as possible while you game, at the potential expense of slowing down your other devices.

For a full breakdown of how to troubleshoot your broadband speed issues, you can read our article here.

Everything is running as it should be but my internet is still too slow. Do I need to upgrade?

If your speed test shows things are running where they should be, and you’ve done a comprehensive troubleshoot of all the potential choke points and issues, and your internet is still too slow it might be time to upgrade your plan.

If you are looking to upgrade, you can read our article on How to Choose a High-Speed UFB Broadband Plan. Or, if you’re a household of Twitch streamers, click here for a range of high-speed gaming and hyperfibre plans. Otherwise, click the button below to see our latest broadband ratings!

Compare broadband providers for free with Canstar!

author andrew broadley

About the author of this page

This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Andrew Broadley. Andrew is an experienced writer with a wide range of industry experience. Starting out, he cut his teeth working as a writer for print and online magazines, and he has worked in both journalism and editorial roles. His content has covered lifestyle and culture, marketing and, more recently, finance for Canstar.

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