Internet Service Provider Survey

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The Internet Service Provider (ISP) Survey measures the nature of Internet service provision in New Zealand. The ISP Survey provides information on the total number and types of permanent or regular Internet connections through Internet Service Providers (ISPs). This information allows a measurement of the global connectivity of New Zealanders, which is regarded as an important determinant in accelerating economic growth. A core set of official statistics on Internet service provision results from this survey and this will help individuals, communities, businesses and government to understand how information and communication technology is changing the economy and society.

The ISP Survey has been conducted annually since 2009. Prior to that it was conducted six-monthly. The first set of survey results was released in August 2005.

The survey is posted to approximately 80 enterprises which provide Internet services in New Zealand.


The access that New Zealanders have to technology and the internet are reliable indicators about the performance in the Information Economy. Whereas several years ago, this could be measured by the number of dial up connections, the prevalence of broadband connections is now being linked with the continued acceleration of economic growth in the world economy.

The Internet Service Provider (ISP) Survey allows the measurement of an industry that supplies the majority of permanent or regular connections to the internet. This is deemed to be an important indicator of the ability of New Zealanders to access information and communicate using the internet. In recent years, the 'digital divide' has become an issue of concern for government, academics and non-government organisations. The digital divide is viewed as both a symptom and cause of the growing inequality of wealth in OECD countries. The ISP Survey attempts to bring together a list of indicators, for example, relating to internet access, type etc, which may allow the digital divide to be better understood in New Zealand, while at the same time providing data on the nature and levels of penetration of services in the ISP industry.

Measurement of the way in which individuals, households and businesses use information technology and communications (ICT) have been collected in other Stats NZ surveys, such as Business Operations Survey, Household Use of Information and Communication Technology Survey and so on.

Note that the ISP survey is actually a census of all of New Zealand's Internet service providers.

Citation Information


Internet Service Provider Survey

Alternate Title



Business Performance


Stats NZ


Stats NZ

Coverage Information

Topical Coverage

  • Science and technology
  • Communications
  • Information technology
  • Wireless telecommunications
  • Telecommunications service providers
  • Service industries
  • Internet service providers
  • Internet
  • Information technology

Significant events impacting this study series

The frequency of the survey was bi-annual from March 2005 to March 2008 and annual from June 2009 onwards.

From 2009 the ISP survey used a new population selection method. Previous ISP surveys were supplemented using industry lists rather than a key word search. The lists are no longer available. The impact of this change was analysed and is negligible.

Changes were made to the Internet Service Provider Survey: 2011, which affects the comparability of data to previous surveys.

Usage and limitations of the data

The main objective of the ISP Survey is to provide the government with information on the total number and nature of the subscribers that use New Zealand based ISPs to connect either permanently or regularly to the internet. This information is important as it allows the global connectedness of New Zealanders to be measured and taken into policy considerations. Globalisation is seen as an important determinant of economic growth, and by measuring global connectedness, which can be used as a proxy for globalisation, it will be possible to develop the 'appropriate' policies, to lift New Zealand to a higher trend level of economic growth than that of the OECD as an average.

Other survey objectives are to:

  • measure the speed and type of connection subscribers have to the internet. This provides a quality measure on global connectedness and is an important factor impacting on business performance and economic growth. In addition, the type and speed of connection indicates the maturity and competitiveness of the ISP industry.

  • break down number of subscribers as business, government or residential. This provides information on the split of subscribers in New Zealand, thereby allowing policy targeting to take place.

  • measure total data capacity of providers. This allows the determination of the data capacity being used by providers and provides information on the accessibility of New Zealanders to the internet.

  • measure subscriber uptake of ISP- provided, Internet related services. This information provides a measure on the uptake of additional complex services provided by the ISP industry and the uptake of these service by New Zealanders.

A supply side ISP survey, compared to demand side survey, will provide reliable information about internet activity on a regular and timely basis, while being relatively low cost and having low respondent load.

The above information will be useful as it will feed into policy development and goal setting and in the monitoring of their implementation. The ISP Survey will provide reliable information about ISP supply which will inform debate, decision making and research, within the wider community. A core set of official statistics on ISPs will result from this survey, which will help in enabling individuals, communities, businesses and the government to understand how new ICT technologies are changing the economy and society. Given that the ISP Survey provides data on issues such as the barriers faced by ISPs in their operations, government and businesses can use this information to address factors relating to the 'digital divide', thereby leading ultimately to economic and social gain.

The above measures is collected via a census of all ISP's based in New Zealand and the results reported as aggregates and changes to aggregates over time.

In developing the survey design, importance was placed on international best practice as well as government, industry and other public needs from the data. Stats NZ has utilised a number of resources to ensure that the submitted questionnaire meets these demands. Throughout the production of this survey, the following sources of advice and information were used:

Stakeholder representation from Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Technical advice from Internet New Zealand, Commerce Commission and other industry representatives, Australia Bureau of Statistics Internet Activity Survey, OECD and other Asia Pacific statistical agency advice.


4) Annual

Main users of the data

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment; Commerce Commission.

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