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NZ has the upper hand in trans-Tasman broadband comparisons

Peter Griffin, Editor. 14 July 2022, 12:35 pm

Kiwis might be flying the coop to Australia seeking better job prospects and lower living costs now that the borders are open again.

But if you are looking to run a digital business or just regard good quality internet connectivity as a necessity, you’d be better off staying put. The latest Measuring Broadband TransTasman report compiled by Australia and New Zealand’s competition watchdogs, the ACCC and the Commerce Commission, puts New Zealand comfortably ahead on broadband performance.

That’s no big surprise. Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) has been plagued with technical problems rooted in the design of the network as well as the business model underpinning it.

Those poor choices could see Australia trail its smaller neighbour on broadband benchmarks for years to come.

Here’s what the headline results look like:

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 On a bog standard 100/20 Mbps (megabits per second) fibre plan, which many New Zealand households and small businesses use to connect to the internet, New Zealand has the edge with similar download speeds but better upload transfers and fewer outages.

Where the lead opens up is with high-speed fibre plans (speeds close to 1Gps - gigabit per second), where our download speeds are faster and upload speeds outstrip Australia’s by a factor of ten.

As of 30 September 2021, according to the report, 1,180,766 New Zealand households and businesses were connected to fibre, with 67% of those on 100 Mbps connections, and 19% on Fibre Max connections.

That’s a major win for the ultrafast broadband network (UFB) with just 17% of New Zealand premises (308,000) still connected to copper and 276,493 or 15% opting for fixed wireless technologies offered over 4G mobile networks.

In fact, its only in that latter category, fixed wireless, that Australia offers better performance. 

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It turns out that average download speeds over fixed wireless are higher in Australia both during busy hours and outside of busy hours. Fixed wireless also has significantly more outages. That will give Spark and Vodafone, the two largest providers of 4G fixed wireless services some pause for thought.

But overall, its a great result for New Zealand. The bulk of users on fibre enjoy better speeds and performance than users across the Tasman. 



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