NZ broadband good for HD video, mostly

Commerce Commission releases Measuring Broadband New Zealand Autumn Report

The Commerce Commission says New Zealand’s broadband networks enable most New Zealanders to reliably stream high definition (HD) video, most of the time.

The conclusion comes from the commission’s quarterly Measuring Broadband New Zealand Report, produced by independent testing company SamKnows.

It includes speed and performance comparisons across copper (ADSL and VDSL), fibre (Fibre 100 and Fibre Max) and fixed wireless technologies.

Also, the commission said future Measuring Broadband New Zealand reports would compare providers to show how they perform against each other.

To do this it wants more volunteers on specific plans to participate, enabling it to also publish more detailed information on broadband performance in different regions in New Zealand.

A list of plans the commission is seeking volunteers for are detailed in the report, which can be found here. Its next report is due out around September.

Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Stephen Gale said SamKnows found fibre networks also able to deliver 4K (UHD) video streaming from Netflix for more than 99 percent of the time.

“Even ADSL, the slowest technology, is capable of delivering HD video around 75 percent of the time. However, for households with multiple people streaming, downloading files, or gaming at the same time, fibre plans will give the best results.”

He added: “The aim of our Measuring Broadband New Zealand programme is that Kiwis use the information in our reports to choose the right technology and provider for what they want to do online,” Dr Gale said. 

A list of plans the Commission is seeking volunteers for are detailed in the report, which can be found here.

Chorus networks ready to deliver HD video

Meanwhile, Chorus has pronounced its network ready to tackle demands of full HD streaming of the Rugby World Cup. Online live coverage will be available to stream in New Zealand at 1080p full high definition.

Chorus says it anticipates a 44 percent upsurge in traffic over the tournament period, the equivalent of bringing forward two years of network capacity growth.

However, Chorus' chief customer officer Ed Hyde said customers would want to be on a fibre or VDSL connection and an unlimited data plan to watch the games. “Allowing two hours of viewing per game means Kiwis could use 6GB of data on top of what they normally use, he said.

“Fixed wireless or using a mobile network for broadband at home won't allow for full 1080p HD and the picture quality will be reduced to 720p so as not to overload the mobile network.”

He said customers not on fibre would need to act quickly. "There are a limited number of homes we can connect to fibre in the weeks before the tournament and we’re encouraging Kiwis to get in quick so that they can get the best possible viewing experience.

Quick fibre connections for most customers

Chorus has also announced that more than 400,000 homes and businesses wanting fibre can now get connected “with just one visit and in a matter of hours,” where previously two or more visits from a technician over several days.

“Over the last 18 months Chorus has worked to refine the connection process and now 75 percent of connections – those that are not subject to consenting restrictions or more complex installations – are able to be completed in a single visit,” it said.

More backhaul capacity

Chorus said it had also provided retail service providers with 2Tbps of addition handover capacity in its network, and this would allow an additional 400,000 simultaneous full HD video streams to flow between Chorus and broadband retailers’ networks.

Hyde said preparations in advance of the Rugby World Cup would ensure there would be no buffering in the network despite the anticipated volume of simultaneous HD video streams.

He said the network was also ready to support future live sports broadcasts in Ultra HD 4K quality. “While this hasn’t made it here in time for the Rugby World Cup we’re looking forward to showing what our networks can really do when live 4K sports does arrive.”