Commerce Commission appoints second broadband tester
The Commerce Commission has appointed TrueNet as its second broadband tester, joining the incumbent Epitiro.
The watchdog has been using Epitiro to test internet service providers' speed and reliability.
Epitiro is a UK-based based company with a local office.
TrueNet is local, 65% owned by Wellington-based IT services company Catalyst, and 35% by John Butt's Jonette Consulting.
Mr Butt has been TrueNet public during its extended audition.
The testing company has sought to prove its chops to the Commission with a series of monthly reports over the past half-year, ranking the performance of major ISPs (in partnership with the Telecommunications Users Association of NZ, TUANZ - see February's results here). Side projects have included assessing the impact of TelstraClear's all-you-can-eat-data weekend.
While Epitiro tests ISP performance from a series of fixed locations, TrueNet uses an ever-expanding network of volunteers.
TrueNet is now on a drive to recruit up to 400 new home and business testers (you can learn more or sign up (truenet.co.nz/get-involved-become-volunteer-tester). Volunteers are sent a TrueNet "probe" (a modified wi-fi router) that tracks the performance of their internet connection.
The company says results are anonymous. Testers get to see how their own connection rates and, well, contribute to the greater good of the country by giving regulators a more clear picture of the state of the nation's broadband.
“The TrueNet testing is in addition to the Epitiro testing we are already doing, and is more oriented towards measuring the kind of performance that is delivered to people’s homes,” said Dr Ross Patterson, Telecommunications Commissioner.
The Commission will publish reports showing the results of the testing, on a timetable yet to be confirmed.
"We are very pleased to have the Commerce Commission as our anchor customer. The TrueNet system relies on measuring customer's internet performance from a probe connected in volunteers homes and small businesses, free of interference from busy computers and other equipment," TrueNet principal John Butt told NBR.
Beyond its monthly ranking of landline broadband, TrueNet has also issued reports on mobile broadband performance in Auckland and Wellington, ranking Telecom, Vodafone and 2degrees cellular networks.
The tests, modeled on methodology used by British regulator Ofcom, were carried out independently.
However, Telecom seized on the Auckland test, name-checking it around a TV campaign that featured XT and Vodafone 3G smartphones going head-to-head in city's Albert Park (Vodafone vigorously disputed the ad, and subsequently released its own mobile data tests, commissioned from Epitiro, which showed its own network ahead by most metrics).
Some NBR commenters were quick to howl, pointing out Mr Butt is a former director of networks at Telecom.
But Mr Butt pointed out he left in 1994.
He has held a number of positions since, including a sales role at Telecom network partner Alcaltel Lucent, and general manager of networks at CallPlus.
Mr Butt, added, "I am a Vodafone customer and have been since they bought Bellsouth."