The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown had a significant impact on fibre activity and uptake in the quarter to the end of June, major provider Chorus reported today.
Restrictions on non-essential activity reduced fibre installations by around 15,000 and halted the Ultrafast Broadband 2 rollout.
Reduced fibre installations and constraints on door-to-door marketing saw fibre connection growth drop to 27,000 from 32,000 in the third quarter.
Chorus provided $5 million financial support to service companies to assist with reduced field force workflow and revenue and to help them retain workers for a rapid resumption of work in alert level three.
Total fixed line connections declined by 4,000 to 1,415,000 compared with a 13,000 decline in the third quarter. Broadband connections, meanwhile, returned to second quarter levels of 1,206,000, growing 4,000.
UFB uptake increased from 58 per cent to 60 per cent within Chorus' completed footprint in the fourth quarter and now accounts for 73 per cent of Chorus broadband connections in the planned UFB zone and 53 per cent overall.
1Gbit/s connections grew from 105,000 to 115,000 and now represent 16 per cent of mass market fibre. About 20 per cent of orders are now for 1Gbit/s.
Upstream traffic peaked around 60 per cent higher than January levels when lockdown began, driven by rapid adoption of video conferencing applications, Chorus said.
Upstream traffic remained 10 per cent higher than before lockdown, reflecting ongoing adoption of work from home practices and two-way bandwidth hungry applications.