Epitiro Quarterly Report on NZ Broadband quality

January show on average Auckland internet users experience speeds of 3.8 megabits per second, up 10 per cent on last October.

January show on average Auckland internet users experience speeds of 3.8 megabits per second, up 10 per cent on last October.

The Epitiro/IDC report on New Zealand broadband quality for the March 2009 quarter was released in July and report examines the quality of broadband services provided by New Zealand’s (ISPs) internet service providers. Epitiro measured the quality from central sites using premium residential plans.

Around the country tests run on home computers demonstrated double-digit improvements in broadband speeds, albeit off some low bases.
The data gathered shows Auckland internet users have the fastest speeds in the country, but Canterbury, Wellington, Taranaki and Marlborough/Tasman are not far behind.

Around the country tests run on home computers demonstrated double-digit improvements in broadband speeds, albeit off some low bases.

The data gathered shows Auckland internet users have the fastest speeds in the country, but Canterbury, Wellington, Taranaki and Marlborough/Tasman are not far behind.

This quarter, new graphs have been added to show national and international webpage download speeds for each main centre and a measure of service availability.

Director Osmond Borthwick of Commerce Commission Telecommunications Branch said, “While there was only an incremental improvement in overall broadband performance in the quarter, some ISPs have been putting in work behind the scenes to boost broadband performance. The report also shows more clearly that a lack of sufficient capacity on national and international connections is a major constraint on further improvements to the speeds that can be achieved by consumers. The Commission will continue to monitor the effect of these constraints.”

Key findings for the March quarter are:

  • The gap in performance between the best and worst performing internet service providers (ISPs) continued to widen, driven largely by significant investment in network performance by the best performing ISPs.
  • A new measure for this report shows the level of broadband reliability – the amount of time the service is available – is good, averaging 99.97 per cent in March. This means an average network downtime of approximately 14 minutes per month for most ISPs.
  • New caching solutions, which store popular international and national content locally, can deliver a two to threefold improvement in international download speeds, but appear to have only a marginal impact on national download speeds.
  • International download speeds are usually less than half of national download speeds and national download speeds are significantly lower for Dunedin than the other main centres tested.
  • The peak pressure periods for broadband services are 4pm to 5pm and again at 8pm to 10pm, with some service providers struggling more than others to meet demand during these times.

To increase performance for most customers , some ISPs are now turning off ‘interleaving’, a data management setting. Interleaving is ideal as it provides greater stability to broadband performance over longer distances, but decreases speed.

The results should be viewed as the optimal broadband performance that can be achieved in each of the main centres in which measurements are taken.  The report is designed to provide New Zealand  industry observers, consumers and businesses with independent measurements of the changes in the quality of broadband services over time.  Uunbundled lines performance is not yet being measured.

The full report is available on the Commission’s website www.comcom.govt.nz at Industry Regulation/Monitoring and Reporting

Affordability is a major factor of choosing ISPs.

Out of all of the major providers with landline services (TelstraClear, Orcon, Slingshot, Vodafone, Telecom), broadband pricing from cheapest to most expensive was:

Orcon, Slingshot, Vodafone, TelstraClear, Telecom
… and the complete home phone and broadband pricing:
Orcon, Vodafone, Slingshot, TelstraClear, Telecom

This post by Kevin Andreassend, President, Auckland ICT.
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