NZ Broadband speeds increasing - TrueNet

On the same day that the US Federal Communications Commission has reportedly raised the basic definition for ‘broadband’ to a minimum download speed of 10Mbps, and 1Mbps on the uplink, TrueNet have come out with the news that the average NZ broadband speed increased 34% over the previous 12 months.  They are now seeing an average download speed of 14 Mbps, up from just over the magic (according to the FCC) number of 10 Mbps a year ago.

TrueNet believe that with the recent publication of Chorus customer numbers for each technology; the published data from MBIE on total fibre connections; combined with total market share of each ISP, they now have a reliable NZ wide speed calculation.  TrueNet is now taking broadband speed recordings from over 450 panelists throughout New Zealand, testing the speed every hour.

They put the increase in speed down to the increasing demand in the last 12 months for VDSL (Very-fast DSL) and Fibre connections.  Prior to a year ago, their average measure had been stuck at 9 Mbps since they had sufficient panelists in March 2012.

According to TrueNet, in 2012, all connections were either ADSL or 15Mb/s Cable.  This has now changed with the options of:

  • Fibre was first offered as 30 or 100Mb/s, and is now available at speeds up to 1000Mb/s. The increasing  number of users with higher speeds are increasing, enabling the average to reach 43Mb/s.
  • Cable products included 25Mb/s, then later 100Mb/s, and now 130Mb/s.  They believe the distribution of products sold now average speeds of 37Mb/s.
  • VDSL is able to achieve speeds much faster than ADSL, and is now averaging 24Mb/s.
  • ADSL continues to average 10Mb/s.

They are still seeing a drop in performance at peak hours of 8-10pm but at that time the improvement in speed is still high at 31%.

To see more details go to their website HERE.

Using Skype across the family

If you're a big user of video services such as Skype you'll know that one of the more powerful things you can do with the service is to use it to make group video calls.  Prior to April this year, you could only do this if one of the parties to the call had paid the price for Skype Premium at around US$8.99 a month.  But many of us may not have picked up that from April 2014, Skype has made this group calling ability available for free to standard Skype users.

I was reminded of this when I watched my wife have a two hour Skype group video call with her family - linking us in Auckland with family in Wellington and London.  We have a VDSL connection at home and the service worked without missing a beat across 4 locations.

So if you have family all over the world, connecting with them face-to-face is as easy as installing Skype, and as long as you have a reasonable broadband connection, you can have a group video to wish them all a merry christmas.

EHealth in Eastern Bay of Plenty

I was fortunate to be able to catch up with one of my predecessors last Monday evening in the form of Ernie Newman, now a resident of the lovely town of Whakatane in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.  He is currently involved in some very exciting projects with the two District Health Boards in the area - Bay of Plenty and Tairawhiti.  This project involves the use of video technology to assist remote rural areas to have access to better health care.

Part of the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) is focused on delivering fibre to schools and hospitals and its this connectivity that is one of the more exiting outcomes from the project.  However, as Ernie says, the primary health care locations such as GP practices and rural health centres, weren't covered automatically by the project.  In his role out east, Ernie is working with the DHB's to install video conference equipment in locations such as Waihau Bay (hint: its where a lot of the movie BOY was filmed).  To read more about some of what he's up to have a read at these links:

Kawerau Medical Clinic

Presentation to Australasian Long Term Condition Conference

Next steps in the Copper Pricing process - We are disappointed

Today the Commerce Commission released their next decision in the copper pricing process - the draft final pricing principal decision.  Included in the 900 pages of documentation is the simple outcome of the Copper Line price (that is an unbundled line with no services attached) to rise from their initial price by $4.70 and the price of the Broadband service uplift on that is reduced by 75c.  This is still a reduction over the amount Chorus has been allowed to charge up to yesterday but not as much as we had seen in the Initial price decision.  There is significant detail to be worked through and we now enter into a period where we will work on making a submission on this draft due late January (at this point).  In the meantime we have made the following press release:


TUANZ finds new uncertainty for broadband users disappointing

The Commerce Commission draft decision on wholesale copper charges this morning has introduced new uncertainty for users of broadband services by proposing a $4 increase from their interim decision.  Users have already seen the benefit of lower prices flowing through as a result of this process and improved competition.  TUANZ expected that yesterday’s implementation of the interim prices would further reduce prices. This may now be reversed in April next year when the final price applies.  


TUANZ is also concerned that the Commission has chosen not to make a formal statement on backdating at this point until they release a discussion paper on the issue.


The detail around these numbers is complex and detailed and TUANZ CEO Craig Young is concerned that the time for organisations to submit on the decision is limited.  


“We will endeavour to submit as quickly as possible to fit in with the Commission’s timelines, however we certainly don’t want to be hasty,” said Mr Young.


“We will continue to participate fully in this process, always speaking for the end-users of these services.  Our concern has always been over ensuring a fair and competitive market which is sustainable and continues to provide world class services to New Zealanders at fair prices.”