Coronavirus – Internet Providers drop data caps to help with working from home

Working from home
Thursday, March 19, 2020

As we see the impact of coronavirus on the way we work and live our lives, New Zealand businesses are responding to the wide-range of impacts. This could mean more Kiwis working from home and using more data on their home broadband plan. Major internet providers have announced a series of measures to support Kiwis and businesses as they work from home.

Slingshot and Flip upgrade customer broadband plans

On Tuesday, Vocus NZ told Slingshot and Flip customers on capped broadband plans that they will be upgraded to uncapped plans at no extra cost.  The move is for an open-ended amount of time and only applies to fixed-line broadband, not mobile.

Vocus owned Orcon was already unlimited, so Orcon customers were unaffected by data caps.

2degrees unlimited broadband plans

 A spokesperson for 2degrees said that  said "96 per cent of 2degrees customers are already on unlimited broadband data plans, so they don't need to worry about using data."

He added, "We're making a change so that the small percentage on 80GB capped plans won't pay more than they would for an unlimited plan.

The difference between our 80GB capped 2degrees broadband plan and Unlimited is $10 a month.

"If a customer on a capped plans continues to use less than 80GB, they'll continue to pay $75 per month. But if they're using a lot more data, their bill won't go beyond $85 a month," the spokesman said. Contract mobile customers will get $10 off.

2degrees will review the situation in two months.

Vodafone removes data caps & disconnections

Vodafone NZ has announced a first wave of customer care actions as part of it’s ‘COVID-19 Care’. This includes:

  • The removal of data caps from data-capped Broadband plans for consumers and small to medium sized businesses until at least the end of June 2020. 
  • No Covid-19 related disconnections or late fees. Temporary measures to protect customers in financial hardship from Covid-19 over at least the next six months.
  • Worry-free remote learning for all. Helping families by zero rating Government guided education and health sites to support responses to Covid-19.
  • Ensuring capacity. Vodafone NZ has added extra capacity to fixed, broadband and mobile networks to cope with the extra demand as more people work from home and we will actively monitor network performance.

Spark ditches broadband data caps

Spark has announced that it will scrap for consumers and small to medium-sized businesses for 60 days from Monday is response to coronavirus.

In their announcement Spark said that their intention was to ensure no-one was cut off and that customers could stay connect as more people work from home and businesses trial new ways of working.

Spark also announced that for the next 60 days they will waive late fees in case of hardship, and would not disconnect customers who fell behind on paying their bills.

Make sure you’re on an uncapped data plan

If you are still on a capped data plan, or you’re waiting for to hear how your broadband provider will support you in the next few months, this could be a good time to compare unlimited broadband plans.

Compare unlimited plans


Do we need to be worried about broadband capacity?

If New Zealand follow the trends we are seeing overseas, it’s likely more of us will be working and spending time at home than ever before. Will New Zealand’s ultrafast and copper broadband networks be able to cope?

At this point industry experts say there is likely to be plenty of spare capacity on the ultrafast and copper broadband network to enable people to work from home during the pandemic.

The biggest challenge is likely to be in providing support to workers and businesses who discovered issues with their home wi-fi and virtual private network (VPN) as they used them in new ways.

So, it’s a good idea to do a test run to check everything is working. Telecommunications Forum chief executive Geoff Thorn said it would still be sensible for businesses to trial having everybody working from home, if they felt that was an outcome they might end up with, to check that their own systems and workers' home wi-fi networks were up to the job.

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