Latest broadband report confirms improved performance of premium fibre plans
The latest report from the Commerce Commission's Measuring Broadband New Zealand programme shows that the performance of Fibre Max plans has improved substantially.
This follows a collaboration between the Commission, its independent testing partner, SamKnows, and the industry, to identify and fix performance issues with premium fibre plans.
"Overall performance is now in line with advertised speeds. There is no noticeable dip in performance during peak hours and performance differences across the country have been smoothed," says Telecommunications Commissioner Tristan Gilbertson.
The report shows the average download speed of Fibre Max plans has increased by more than 200 Mbps, or 35%, since the previous report, to around 840 Mbps.
"We're pleased that for the first time the programme can now also compare Fibre Max plan results by provider, as well as the performance of Vodafone's cable technology," says Mr Gilbertson.
The results show that average download speeds are similar across the tested providers' Fibre Max plans.
Meanwhile, Vodafone's cable (Ultrafast HFC Max plan) is delivering speeds significantly higher than copper technologies but around 160 Mbps slower than premium fibre plans.
As illustrated in previous reports, fixed wireless technology (broadband delivered via the 4G mobile network) continues to experience significant latency.
"While 4G fixed wireless can offer higher download speeds than copper broadband, it is not comparable to fibre in its performance in real-time applications. Higher latency can have a real impact on consumers who use the internet for video calling, online gaming and watching high-definition video."
The report also shows an improvement in Netflix streaming results for copper broadband and fixed wireless technologies. This is attributable to Netflix changing the way it delivers ultra-high definition and 4K video.
The latest report and a new online dashboard to explore the results in more detail is available on the Commission's website.
More information about Measuring Broadband NZ, including registering to become a volunteer, can be found on the Measuring Broadband website.
The Measuring Broadband New Zealand programme is delivered by independent testing partner SamKnows. It is designed to provide consumers with independent information on broadband performance across different providers, plans, and technologies, to help them choose the best broadband for their homes. Shining a light on actual broadband performance also encourages providers to compete on performance and not just price.
The Summer Report provides an overview of the findings from data collected between 1 and 31 December 2020.
Fibre Max products are advertised under different names by different providers. These products generally promise download speeds of around 700-950 Mbps.
Cable is available in some areas (Wellington, Upper/Lower Hutt, the Kapiti Coast, and parts of Christchurch). Cable is also referred to as DOCSIS and Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC). Vodafone is the only provider which operates a cable network in New Zealand.
The Commission and SamKnows are deploying a third test server location in Christchurch. Results from this server will be reflected in MBNZ reports starting from this year's Winter report.
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But when is it likely that those living in rural areas are going to be able to access Fibre? I see plenty of signs saying that fibre is being delivered to place A or place B, but what about everyone else? Until there is a mechanism in place to ensure that all those who want access to reasonably priced broadband can get it then we run the risk of having a two-speed economy. I watched them dig the channel for fibre on the other side of the road to me, on the way down to Darfield, yet I cannot have it.