NZ Broadband

Internet use during lockdown in 10 graphs

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July 01, 2020

The recent Covid-19 lockdown highlighted just how important reliable broadband is to how we live, work and play.

With almost all of us working and studying from home, we saw some record highs in internet use. Importantly the Chorus network comfortably coped with this increase in demand, with plenty of capacity to spare.

The below network graphs combine to provide a picture of just how our daily lives and internet use changed over that 3 month period, as well as capturing how particular events such as the weather or a gaming update can impact on data use levels.

Please note in many of the following graphs, we use March 16 2020 as a baseline, to show typical traffic levels before lockdown.


1. Internet usage already growing

Average daily internet usage across the Chorus network grows year-on-year across 2018, 2019 and 2020.



2. The PM takes to Facebook

At 3pm on 23 March, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces plans for Alert Level 4 live on Facebook, which results in a traffic surge. There’s then a significant dip when it’s likely that Kiwi’s go offline to discuss what’s going on with family and friends.

PM on FB


3. Discovering our ‘new normal’

A week or so into Level 4, with most of us at home, internet usage is finding a new normal level.

New normal

4. No ceasefire in Level 4

It’s 8 April, and A Call of Duty game update at 6pm NZT triggers a surge of downloads, peaking at 2.99 Tbps at 9:15pm. 

No ceasefire

5. Zoom and others take off

Video conferencing comes into its own during lockdown. Whether for work meetings, or a more visual way of staying in touch with friends and family, the likes of Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype and Houseparty are now a big part of our lives. The spikes in the upstream graph show a surges of video conferencing, with meetings scheduled on the hour and half hour.

Zoom growth


6. NZ tunes in at 4pm

It’s 23 April and we wait to hear the government’s decision on a possible move to Level 3. The dip at 4pm is likely due to people leaving their devices and tuning into broadcast TV for the PM's TV announcement.

NZ Tunes in


7. Traffic changes at Level 3

More of us are now at our workplaces, schools and early childhood centres. The daytime usage drops by around 10-15% during the first week of Level 3. Fewer connections being used, more face-to-face communication and less TV streaming are contributing factors

Level 3 changes

8. Mother Nature has a say too

It isn’t just PM announcements, changes in alert level or game updates which affect the curve. A rainy afternoon in the north island – particularly in the Auckland region – keeps many of us indoors, increasing usage as we stream TV or reach.

Mother nature

9. A picture of our lives

From pre-Covid to Level 4, 3 and then 2 – the graph shows usage decreasing as more of us return to work and school.

Pic of lives

10. Welcome to the ‘current normal’

At Level 1, other than international travel, our lives have largely returned to normal. As a result, you might expect the usage curve to return to its pre-lockdown shape, however, we are seeing a slight increase. This is likely due to many businesses embracing the flexible working practices we learned in lockdown. Also at this time, video content providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV and YouTube have quality reductions in place, so the curve is likely to rise a little once these are lifted.

Current normal


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