Investment in world-class fibre broadband pays off for the people of Christchurch

The people of Christchurch own their world-class fibre broadband network and it is delivering the essential service the 115,000 connected households and businesses need during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lock-down. Christchurch fibre customers can be confident that they can use their broadband connection as much as they like.

“Enable’s vision has always been to build a world-class fibre broadband network for the benefit of the people of Christchurch. Under the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown we are seeing unprecedented use of our fibre broadband network – so the benefits are now being realised across our community,” said Enable CEO, Steve Fuller.

Enable’s network was designed with a long-term future where data usage and bandwidth requirements would be considerably higher than they are under normal circumstances in 2020. It was specifically designed to ensure every customer connected to fibre broadband could get a high quality, reliable broadband experience all at the same time.

“The COVID-19 lockdown has offered a window into the future – where video conferencing to connect with friends, family and workmates is the norm; the number of people relying solely on the internet to do business has skyrocketed; children are online learning every day; and streamed entertainment is the primary source of content,” said Mr Fuller.

As a result, Enable has seen approximately a 70 percent increase in data usage across its network on some days when compared to what was happening before the lockdown.

“What’s interesting is that we’re seeing a significant increase in uploaded data from the likes of video conferencing and sharing content online and photos.  Our upload capability is something that really differentiates fibre from other broadband technologies like copper and wireless,” said Mr Fuller.

Enable constantly reviews the maximum capacity of its network to ensure it stays ahead of demand. It doubled the capacity of its network in the time for streaming last year’s Rugby World Cup. This investment is paying off during the lockdown, where it is seeing network capacity reach 50 percent during some peak time usage.

“There are many news stories from around the world, where fibre is much less readily available or used, and networks are struggling to deliver against usage demands. In Christchurch, we do not have that problem – customers can use and enjoy their fibre broadband service as much as the like,” said Mr Fuller.

“If we hadn’t made the additional capacity investment last year, our network would be coming under some pressure now.”

Enable is still completing some connections – but in the interest of protecting its people and its community, it has limited field work to the provision of essential connections only, in line with Government expectations.

“This means some customers who now desperately want fibre broadband are having to wait until after the COVID-19 lockdown. We will connect these people as soon we can and I hope they understand the need to do everything we can to stamp out this virus,” added Mr Fuller.

Network Performance Graphs

Enable is experiencing a significant increase in data usage across its network.

Usage peaked on 27 March with 2.05 petabytes (over two million gigabytes) of data downloaded from the likes of watching movies and downloading content from the internet. This was a 69% increase in data against an average day the week before.

We’ve experienced a 63% increase in the amount of data uploaded over a similar timeframe probably mainly from video conferencing and our community sharing their content online.

We're able to connect all customers under Alert Level 2 and will continue to adopt the necessary health and safety protocols in doing so.