Govt network operator launches site for testing your home, or office, broadband speed. Um, why?
July 11: Using Reannz new broadband testing site at home, I found it recorded download speed (7.58Mbit/s) off-peak – a little lower than Speedtest.net, which habitually comes in around 8-9Mbit/s offpeak, and upload speed fractionally higher.
Some have argued that Speedtest.net (which has rather a lock on the popular geek imagination) is perfectly adequate.
Why should Crown company Reannz emulate it?
I think the answer is that as well as presenting your result in megabits, the Reannz site says what your speed is as a percentage of the UFB.
My speed of 7.58Mbit/s, for example, is listed as just 5.44% of what what I could achieve if Crown fibre was laid to my door.
A fibre connection can hit up to 100Mbit/s in both directions, or roughly 10 times the speed of most copper connections today.
But the first of the Big Five ISPs to announce UFB retail pricing, Orcon, has a speed limit of 30Mbit/s on its cheapest fibre plans (that is, those pitched to compete with the price of a copper/DSL connection by hitting a $75 price point. You can pay more for full speed, and more data).
And Tauranga ISP is offering just 10Mbit/s on its lowest price fibre deal – I can achieve 90% of that speed on my copper connection today (a stat that wouldn't look so flash on Reannz site).
There are a number of factors at play here. For one, fibre won't suffer the contention issues that bog down copper, meaning a DSL connection achieves only a fraction of its top potential speed at peak times when everyone piles onto the net, such as after school and immediately after prime time.
And it is not possible for Reannz Broadband Test site to factor in the messy commercial and economic reality that will see most signing up to speed-limited fibre plans. Still, that is what is going to happen.
July 10: Reannz launched the New Zealand Broadband Test website (nzbt.org.nz) at 4pm today.
This site allows people to test the speed and performance of their home or work internet connection and compare it to fellow New Zealanders and ISPs (and eventually with other similar sites around the world).
The NBR ONLINE staff already knew their TelstraClear connection at NBR Towers was not about to win any landspeed awards.
The Broadband Test website confirmed suspisions, and everyday experience.
The result was expressed both in terms of a percentage of speed that could be achieved under the UFB Crown-subsidised fibre rollout – comparison that some may see as having political overtones, or at least an agenda to stoke demand for fibre – and in the more techy terms of megabits per second up and down:
Click to enlarge.
But while the site worked well on NBR's laptop, several readers were quick to complain its Java element would not run on iPhone or Android devices (see comments below).
Reannz (Research & Education Advanced Network NZ), which adminsters the largely unsung $100 million state-owned Karen broadband network, which links universities and Crown Research Institutes.
RAW DATA: Reannz press release