Recording speeds in New Zealand will leave our dead and other unpleasant surprises from the ACCC broadband comparison

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the New Zealand Trade Commission (NZCC) have prepared a report that reflects how Australian broadband is doing alongside that of our nearest neighbor. While we all know how our internet is doing in Australia, it is interesting to see that on the surface, Kiwi broadband is not that much better.

Except when we look at high speed upload speed. Damn, New Zealand screams here – 507.2 Mbps vs 45.7 Mbps. No, the decimal point is not in the wrong place. But that Yippee in line with what Kiwi services offer. We will explain this below.

The ACCC and NZCC report compare the two countries in three ways: 100/20 Mbps landline plans, high-speed fiber plans, and fixed wireless network plans.

Just a note, broadband offered over copper (ADSL and VDSL) and fixed wireless broadband over 5G were not included in the ACCC and NZCC report because some products differed too much in how they were offered in Australia and New Zealand.

The following data were collected from September 1 to September 30, 2021.

Context of Australia

In September 2021, 1.6 million establishments were connected via NBN FTTP with 2.4 percent to Home Ultrafast and 2 million establishments connected via NBN HFC. Approximately 18 percent of FTTP and HFC subscribers had a download speed of 100 Mbps in September 2021. Fixed wireless technology served 373,000 locations. The remaining 4.4 million spaces were connected by copper-based technologies.

The context of New Zealand

As of September 30, 2021, 308,000 or 17 percent of New Zealand’s land was connected to the Internet through copper technology, and 276,493 or 15 percent of New Zealand’s land was connected to a wired wireless network.

Australia vs New Zealand: landline plans 100/20 Mbps

The first type of product included in the report are the 100/20 Mbps fixed line plans: the Australian NBN 100/20 via optical connection to the building (FTTP) and hybrid optical coaxial (HFC) connection and the New Zealand Fiber 100 (offered via FTTP connection only).

Screenshot: ACCC / NZCC

When comparing the Australian NBN 100/20 Mbps plans delivered via FTTP and HFC with the New Zealand Fiber 100 plan, the average download speeds are similar – 100.2 Mbps compared to 100.3 Mbps. However, the percentage of households with average download speeds above 100 Mbps is higher in New Zealand than in Australia, both during and outside busy hours, the ACCC and NZCC said.

The lowest speeds in both countries are measured between 20:00 and 21:00, but the NBN 100/20 plan shows greater differences in download speeds during the day than the Fiber 100.

The report states that Australia’s NBN 100/20 Mbps plans are not over-provided on the uplink and, as a result, measured average upload speeds remain below 20 Mbps. In contrast, almost all households on the New Zealand Fiber 100 achieve average upload speeds in excess of the nominal 20 Mbps due to excessive uplink delivery. An average of 18.2 Mbps for Australia, compared to an average of 22.3 Mbps for New Zealand.

Approximately 95 percent of NBN 100/20 and Fiber 100 services have a latency of 20 ms or less, fiber 100 had a lower average latency than NBN 100/20, and latency increased more during busy hours on NBN 100/20 than on Fiber 100.

When comparing the New Zealand Fiber 100 plans with the Australian NBN 100/20 Mbps plans via FTTP and HFC, the ACCC and NZCC found the outage rate to be very low in both countries.

Australia vs New Zealand: very high speed fiber plans

The second type of product included in the report are very high-speed plans: the Australian NBN Ultrafast plan via FTTP and the New Zealand Fiber Max plan, which are the fastest plans tested in both countries. However, the report does not include a comparison of very high speed HFC plans.

Australia New Zealand accc
Screenshot: ACCC / NZCC

The Australian NBN Ultrafast plan is advertised as having a download / upload speed range of 500-990 / 50 Mbps. New Zealand’s Fiber Max plans are sold at various advertised speeds of 900/400 Mbps, 900/450 Mbps, 950/450 Mbps and 950/500 Mbps.

Speaking of download speeds, the Australian average for high-speed plans is 745.6 Mbps and New Zealand 808.1 Mbps.

The measured average upload speeds are very varies in both countries, with 50 Mbps being offered in Australia and 400-500 Mbps in New Zealand. The average upload in Australia was 45.7 Mbps and in New Zealand it was 507.2 Mbps, and although it looks crazy, the ACCC noted that this is largely in line with the plan speeds. Average upload speeds in Australia do not exceed the planned 50 Mbps, but average upload speeds in New Zealand are often higher than advertised, the ACCC and NZCC have added.

Elsewhere, Fiber Max and NBN Ultrafast had similar average latencies outside busy hours, but the increase in average latency during busy hours was slightly higher with NBN Ultrafast.

Downtime rates lasting more than 30 seconds were found to be low in both countries (0.9 per week for Australia and 0.5 per New Zealand).

Australia vs New Zealand: fixed wireless plans

Finally, the ACCC and NZCC compared the Australian NBN Fixed Wireless Plus plan, offered through NBN’s fixed wireless access services, and the New Zealand fixed wireless network plans offered through their 4G fixed wireless access service.

Recording speeds in New Zealand will leave our dead and other unpleasant surprises from the ACCC broadband comparison
Screenshot: ACCC / NZCC

Average wired wireless download speeds are higher in Australia (36.4 Mbps vs. 29.2 Mbps). However, most fixed wireless services in New Zealand achieve faster shipping speeds than Australia’s NBN Fixed Wireless Plus. Most fixed wireless services in New Zealand achieve faster shipping speeds than Australia’s NBN Fixed Wireless Plus. The average upload speed here in Australia was also much lower than in New Zealand, with ACCC reporting 4 Mbps for us and 17 Mbps for New Zealand.

The overall outage rate for fixed wireless connections was found to be higher in both countries than for fixed lines. However, even a relatively high rate of 4-5 outages per week in New Zealand (less than one per day) is low enough not to have a detrimental effect on the user experience, the ACCC noted.

The ACCC report is full of statistics comparing broadband performance in Australia and New Zealand, so if you want to read it, head here.

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