Speedtest.net’s verdict on NZ broadband speeds

One of the best broadband “speed testers” is speedtest.net. Its slick interface provides estimates of your download and upload speeds at a click of a button. Interestingly enough, speedtest.net provides global statistics on the average speed of users from different countries. Their top 10 countries, by download speed, are:

Speedtest.net Top10

Japan leads at 9.3Mbps, followed by Sweden on 6.6Mbps. Little surprise that neither Australia, nor New Zealand show in the top 10.

The speedtest.net statistics for the “Australian continent” shows:

Speedtest.net Australia


March 18th, 2007 | 9 comments
Sections: Wired, New Zealand
Tags: ADSL, adsl2+, Broadband, speedtest.net, Telecom NZ

TV1 Sunday: Bravo!

TVNZ SundayTV1’s Sunday’s “Traffic Jam” segment this evening was spot on. For the first time New Zealand television has actually produced insightful and accurate coverage in regard to the state of broadband in New Zealand. Well done TV1!

In the past, TV coverage in regard to New Zealand broadband has often been superficial and has often showed a total lack of understanding of the real issues. An example being Campbell Live that in January put the blame of poor broadband performance on the copper local loop. As we all know, the local loop is not the issue. It is Telecom NZ’s lack of investment in its backhaul network that is to blame. And for the first time, this came through clearly in TV1’s Sunday coverage.

My only complaint is the inclusion of Rod Drury’s insane proposal for a government owned domestic and international fibre network. It shows a total lack of understanding of the real issues, and would do little to improve on the current situation. The issue is not about having sufficient amount of bandwidth between the cities, or even to the rest of the world. There is plenty of both. The issue is about competitive access to the end user. Until we have local loop unbundling fully implemented, only Telecom NZ has competitive access to New Zealand homes. Adding oodles of government owned fibre up and down the country will not change that. It will only waste tax payers money.

March 18th, 2007 | 12 comments
Sections: Wired, New Zealand
Tags: ADSL, adsl2+, Sunday, Telecom NZ

The New Zealand dialup eclipse is near

It looks like dialup is finally about to be eclipsed by broadband as the access method of choice for New Zealanders. According to research data provided by Roy Morgan Research the trend in overall new connections (dialup+broadband) has almost completely flattened, indicating that the market is reaching saturation. The kiwis that want to use the internet, are now pretty much all connected! We are now seeing dialup slowly being superseded by broadband. Dialup has been trending down sharply since around mid 2004, as customers slowly, but surely, upgrade to broadband.

A simple extrapolation of the Roy Morgan research data shows that dialup may be eclipsed by broadband as early as next month:

Broadband eclipsing dialup

The chart shows thousands of New Zealanders with dialup (blue) and broadband (red) connections at home. The thicker faded lines show the extrapolated trend of broadband soon eclipsing dialup.


February 27th, 2007 | 1 comment
Sections: Wired, New Zealand
Tags: Broadband, Dialup

More on the New Zealand Dialup vs. Broadband Landgrabs

Last week we contrasted the dialup landgrab against the broadband one in The New Zealand Dialup vs. Broadband Landgrabs. The article focused on the subscriber numbers of the New Zealand tier-1 providers during the two eras. The dialup landgrab showed that a level competitive playing field can produce a competitive market. Unfortunately, this has not yet eventuated in the broadband landgrab.

This time around, let’s have a look at it from a slightly different perspective: market share. We will compare the dialup market shares of the New Zealand providers at the peak of the dialup landgrab (2004) with the equivalent broadband market shares today. Of course, the broadband landgrab has not yet “completed”. (In our estimate we are around halfway there.)

Before we start the discussion, we will divide the providers into two tiers, based on market share (as measured in dialup or broadband subscriber numbers):

  • Tier 1: providers with more than 5% market share;
  • Tier 2: providers with less than 5% market share.

Let’s start with the Tier-1 providers: The dialup landgrab culminated in 2004, and the tier-1 market was then divided as follows:

Dialup tier-1 ISPs 2004

[Source: Paul Budde analyst reports.]


February 22nd, 2007 | 4 comments
Sections: Wired, New Zealand
Tags: ADSL, Broadband, CallPlus, ICONZ, IHUG, MaxNet, New Zealand, ORCON, Slingshot, Telecom NZ, TelstraClear, Woosh, XTRA

Badly Managed Traffic Management

XtraIt has been all over the media (and the small Kiwi blogsphere) that Telecom NZ has withdrawn its GO LARGE “unlimited usage” ADSL plan due to the fact that their “traffic management” went horribly wrong. For good commentary, see David Farrar, NZ Herald, and TUANZ.

According to Telecom’s own release, it appears they have not only traffic managed a small subset of traffic, such as P2P, but accidentally all of the traffic for GO LARGE customers since the 8th of December last year. Duh!

Unfortunately, it is all but impossible to actually work out what has been going on in GO LARGE land… They key point being that there is no explanation given by Telecom to as what “traffic management” actually means. There are obviously a number of ways that “traffic management” can be applied to broadband customers. The obvious ones being:

  • Per application: provide a certain (smallish) bandwidth allocation for certain applications (=ports/services), like P2P applications. For example: limit P2P and other applications to a total of 200Mbps for all subscribers.
  • Per subscriber: provide a certain bandwidth allocation per subscriber. For example, limit each subscriber to 2Mbps. (This is the way that all NZ ADSL plans used to work. The new unconstrained plans changed all that.)
  • Per group of subscribers: provide a certain bandwidth allocation per group of subscribers. For example, limit the total bandwidth usage for all GO LARGE customers to 200Mbps.


February 22nd, 2007 | 9 comments
Sections: Wired, New Zealand
Tags: ADSL, GO LARGE, Telecom NZ, XTRA

The New Zealand Dialup vs. Broadband Landgrabs

The Internet era, from an ISP or Telco perspective, can be divided into the dialup and broadband “landgrabs”. These are the times when the providers attempt to grab as many customers as possible, sometimes with loss-leading offers, with the intention of taking the profits in the future. In New Zealand, the dialup landgrab started in the mid 90s and peaked in 2004 as shown below:

Dialup vs. broadband landgrabs

[The graph shows total dialup and residential broadband subscribers. Source: analyst reports and industry data.]

The fascinating thing about the dialup landgrab was that the competitive playing field was relatively level. Telecom NZ, the local loop owner, did not have any significant advantage over the challengers. Sure, Telecom NZ had more money to spend on building infrastructure and on marketing its services. However, the cost of providing dialup access to customers was pretty much the same for Telecom NZ and its competitors. And the margins for all players were healthy. As a matter of fact, in one respect the playing field was tilted against Telecom NZ as re-sellers could (ab-)use the old interconnect agreements to generate revenue. This fact was used by a number of free ISPs, such as ZFREE (TelstraClear) and i4free (Callplus).


February 18th, 2007 | 6 comments
Sections: Wired, Wireless, New Zealand
Tags: ADSL, Broadband, CallPlus, IHUG, New Zealand, Telecom NZ, TelstraClear, Vodafone, Woosh, XTRA

Telecom NZ: ADSL2+ coming in March

Telecom NZTelecom NZ has confirmed that it will finally (!) start to roll out ADSL2+ in March. The roll-out will start with the Pakuranga exchange and will be extended to cover 120 exchanges by the end of 2007 in Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, Christchurch, and Dunedin. The deployment will cover approximately 50% of Telecom’s broadband customer base. Telecom’s existing ADSL1 technology has a maximum downstream speed of approximately 7.6Mbps. ADSL2+ will triple this maximum speed to 24Mbps. However, for customers to see a practical speed improvement, the distance to the exchange should be less than approximately 2 kilometers.

Interestingly enough, Telecom states that the rollout will be treated as a platform roll-out, but not a service roll-out or change. In other words, existing UBS customers with ADSL2+ capable modems may see speed improvements once their exchanges have been treated to the ADSL2+ fork-lift upgrade. This approach is certainly not one that we expected Telecom NZ to take. We anticipated that the ADSL2+ upgrade would be seen as the perfect opportunity to introduce higher-end, faster, but pricier broadband plans. Good on you Telecom for improving the service (at hopefully the same price-points)!

February 9th, 2007 | 10 comments
Sections: Wired, New Zealand
Tags: ADSL, Broadband, IPTV, Telecom NZ, UBS