Thu 23 Apr 2015 11:24PM

Access to telecommunications

SD Sophie Davies Public Seen by 357

Forms of telecommunications and how they are used have changed greatly over the last decade. These trends are expected to continue, so it is important that census data collected in this area remains relevant for the future, while retaining comparability.

Data on household access to a telephone is still important to collect. Although internet access has become more prevalent, in many households a telephone is still the only form of telecommunication available.

Whether information on fax access should continue to be collected in the census is questionable, as faxes are becoming obsolete due to widespread use of the internet.

We considered for the 2006 Census whether it was more appropriate to gather information on access to cell phones at an individual level. The report on this issue concluded that the question on the dwelling form currently met most users’ needs. To gather useful data on usage of specific devices would require a series of detailed questions not suited for inclusion in the census.

Our current recommendations relating to access to telecommunication systems

  • We recommend that access to telecommunication systems be included in the 2018 Census, but that information on fax access no longer be collected.

  • We recommend that access to telecommunication systems continues to be collected on the dwelling form.

See our preliminary view of 2018 Census content (pages 54-55) for a more detailed discussion on access to telecommunications information.

See 2013 Census information by variable for information on the access to telecommunications variable.


John Russell Thu 30 Apr 2015 10:43AM

The question asks 'which of these are available in this dwelling' and lists some things including 'Internet access'. Many people access the internet via phones and tablets (portable devices not 'tied' to a specific dwelling) and it is not clear whether these should be included.

Also, what about the government Ultra-Fast Broadband roll-out?Would it not be useful to know the impact of this on how people access services? Just as once it was useful to know how many households had access to a fax, now it could be useful to know how far access to services requiring high-speed/high-bandwidth broadband (e.g. media services like Lightbox and Netflix) have reached into the population.


Keely Thu 30 Apr 2015 9:08PM

Hi @johnrussell, thanks for kicking off the discussion!

My colleague @sandrageng and I are from Statistics NZ and will be facilitating the telecommunications discussion.

You bring up some great points. Keen to hear others' views on how the mobility of devices affects the interpretation of Internet access in the home.

Access to services on the Internet is also an important topic. Is Census the right place to collect this type of information?


Roy McFarlane Thu 30 Apr 2015 9:15PM

People need cell phone access at their house. It appears that many , many people do not have a reasonable, reliable or any access to mobile phone service at their house and in some cases in their area. Many people do not use home wired telephones any more as the cost of mobile and home line is to expensive. So I guess the question needs to be around the quality of mobile reception at their house and area.


Derek Robson Fri 1 May 2015 1:31AM

people communicate with service more then just telephone.

can we have questions around services such as email and skype, sms, social media.


Sandra (Facilitator) Fri 1 May 2015 1:43AM

Hi@Roy McFarlane, Thank you for sharing your comments about cellphone access at home and suggestion about census question regarding on the quality of mobile access at home.
We are welcoming and happy to hear and share all ideas and comments about whether census data should or should not collect the data in this area remains relevant for the future, while retaining comparability.


Matthew Beveridge Sat 2 May 2015 9:56AM

I think questions around Social Media and other app use would be extremely useful. How that is structured would be a difficult question to answer. But the census presents an amazing opportunity to start tracking social media use. It could help influence how government agencies use it to reach out to and engage with people in New Zealand.


Sandra (Facilitator) Sun 3 May 2015 11:33PM

@Matthew Beveridge, thanks for your great comments about Social Media will be the useful information for government agencies used for policy making and engage with New Zealanders. You also mention that “How that is structures would be a difficult question to answer.” As it is great time for open discussion, if you have any suggestion or ideas on how to structure the telecommunication question in census that is very welcoming. Thanks again.


Matthew Beveridge Mon 4 May 2015 6:43AM

There is a difference between what I would love to see as someone studying the use of social media, and what I know is a practical/useful to others approach.

I would love to see:
Please indicate which social media platforms you have access to: (list a large range of them)

Please indicate the platform you use most often, and how frequently you use it:

Please indicate the platform you use least often, and how frequently you use it:


Laydan Mortensen Mon 4 May 2015 7:23AM

If a person has access to the internet, it is implied they would have access to social media platforms - whether they use them is another question altogether.

Expanding the internet category to specify what type of internet a dwelling has may be helpful. Those with slow connection speed (e.g. dial-up and satellite) are as likely to be digitally disadvantaged as those with no internet.


Guy Marriage Mon 4 May 2015 8:30PM

I don't think I have received - or sent - a fax for about 10 years now, so the question about fax will probably be facing its demise. It's like asking someone if they ride a penny farthing... But asking how they access the Internet (tick all the options that apply to you) is probably valid. Cellphone, tablet, computer, but also wifi, 3G, fixed line ?

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