Broadband slower than a year ago - Commerce Commission tester


Chris Keall

Average NZ broadband speed rose from 10.8Mbit/s in January 2012 to 11.5Mbit/s in January 2013, according to TrueNet (one of two testers on contract to the Commerce Commission).

Neat stuff … except that the January 2013 average is pumped up by a small number of TrueNet testers who’re now on UFB fibre, or VDSL (a new, faster type of copper connection, though only available for those who live close enough to an exchange or cabinet).

If you allow for those outliers by focusing on median performance (or mid-point in the spread of speeds among TrueNet’s hundreds of volunteer testers), the situation isn’t so flash.

TrueNet principal John Butt told NBR the January, 2012 median was 11.2Mbit/s; the January 2013 median 10.5Mbit/s.

Chorus and other infrastructure players continue to upgrade broadband networks, but not everybody is willing to pay for the fastest plan on offer from their ISP (assuming it's available in their neighbourhood).

TrueNet's tests were carried out at 5am. Peak times will be slower for those on copper; much slower during the two broadband rush hours identified by previous testing for the Commerce Commission: when school's out, and the end of prime time.

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2 Comments & Questions

Commenter icon key: Subscriber Verified

Good on you Mr Keall for identifying the flaw in the results.

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The testing a year ago was done just as trunet started, so volunteers were mostly made up of 'geeks' who know how to get the best from their broadband (i.e., they get home wiring done, use a decent modem, etc).
The volunteers added since then will likely skew towards the non-geeks, so would expect their speeds to be slowed since they don't know that they should sort their wiring out at home to improve speed, and this would bring the median down.

A more useful test would be to look at how the speeds have changed of only the people who were signed up last year to truenet.

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