Broadband has been available throughout the country on ordinary telephone lines since 2001 when the only access was delivered using a technology called ADSL. A few years later Telecom launched VDSL as a faster alternative, but take-up was limited due to its high price. Since then the Government provided a subsidy for the rollout of Fibre throughout NZ, but 5 years into the roll-out just 50% of the country has access to fibre, with an estimated 5 more years to complete coverage.
The current spend on Fibre promotion is hiding the opportunity for NZ consumers to take advantage of an existing fast broadband technology - VDSL, without needing to wait for fibre to be installed in your street.
"VDSL is sold with similar or identical pricing to ADSL"
Fibre performance from the UFB rollout is reported for the first time with TrueNet having a good sample of Orcon UFB connections.Overall Performance
UFB is an alternative to the standard ADSL service that all ISPs offer, and is best compared with Cable and VDSL services. Orcon's 100Mbps service is significantly better than either VDSL or Cable, while its 30Mbps service is a little better than both VDSL and Cable.Webpage Downloads
Only UFB Fibre provides a consistent technology for webpage downloads, with both Orcon's services achieving excellent results. VDSL performance is significantly better than ADSL with Snap and Voyager beating TrueNet targets, while only Snap achieves better than 95% in ADSL. Telecom's ADSL is very close, only dropping below the 95% after 3pm.Latency
Voyager is joined by Snap in achieving best National Latency figures in April. Large differences in International Latency between ISPs are significant in affecting the performance of voice and video services requiring always-on connections.
With over a year's worth of consistent data, published every month, TrueNet has tracked the performance of participating ISPs across New Zealand. Focussing attention on these numbers has had a positive effect for a number of ISPs, notably Snap and Orcon who have both improved their webpage download performance since TrueNet first reported.
Snap and Orcon are now our best speed performers, Orcon coming from almost last when TrueNet reported this measure for the first time in March 2012. To stay at the top of this test requires regular and timely upgrades of capacity.
TrueNet welcomes the competitive spirit that became evident during 2012 and has resulted in most ISPs achieving improved performance. For 2013, TrueNet plans additional reports to ensure that ISPs consider factors other than Speed and Webpage downloads in their performance metrics.
Orcon had a dramatic improvement in performance to reach first place in TrueNet's peak hour speed measurements for November. Voyager reports for the first time with a creditable performance beating many larger ISPs.
We also compared VDSL upload speeds on 5 ISPs with ADSL, and found a dramatic 10-fold performance advantage. (ISPs with VDSL probes include Snap, Voyager, Maxnet, Unleash and Worldnet).
Snap ran a special AYCE (All you can eat) weekend where all data was free. Concern over performance was expressed on Geekzone, but TrueNet measurements of throughput show there was little impact. Possibly due to an upgrade applied just prior to the weekend?
Mobile data prices vary between carriers by very large margins. Mobile performance is now sufficiently good to compete with fixed line performance if your connection is over 2km from the nearest exchange or cabinet. 2Degrees have just released a mobile wifi unit which enables the technology of mobile broadband being an alternative in the home. But, prices for mobile broadband vary significantly.
Although targets set appear achievable within the promised timeframe, Telecom currently falls short in achieving the planned increase in broadband speed to the home.
With testing units (probes) in many homes around the country TrueNet is in a position to get some real measurements on some real broadband commitments made to the government.