100Mbps fibre services deliver, but 1Gbps falls short

Fibre Max services struggle, ComCom reveals

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The Commerce Commission’s latest broadband performance report shows 100Mbps fibre services (Fibre 100) consistently delivering the advertised bandwidth, but 1Gbps (Fibre Max) services struggling to achieve more than 72 percent of their advertised bandwidth.

For Fibre 100 services the worst performing 10 percent of monitored service achieved 80 percent of the advertised downstream speed, but the worst performing 10 percent of 1Gbps services achieved only 20 percent.

The commission has warned providers of 1Gbps services to ensure they are able to deliver on their advertised speeds and says it will be monitoring them closely.

The commission said Fibre 100 services were much better for ultra HD streaming and intensive applications like gaming in multi-user households than lower speed services, but the more costly 1Gbps Fibre Max were unlikely to provide any noticeable performance improvement over Fibre 100 unless six or more users in the one household were streaming video at the same time.

Where the commission found real benefit from Fibre Max services was when accessing content hosted outside New Zealand. For US content Fibre 100 delivered only 64.5Mbps compared to 180Mbps over Fibre Max. For UK content the figures were 45.1Mbps and 199.7Mbps.

“When content is hosted internationally, Fibre 100 download speeds can fall to a level where multi-user households would experience reduced performance,” the commission said.

The figures are provided by broadband monitoring company SamKnows and rely on internet users volunteering to install a performance monitoring device on their service.

The commission says its latest report is able to break down Fibre 100 plans by service provider and regions for the first time, as a result of more volunteers coming online. However it is still seeking to increase the number.

The commission’s head of telecommunications, Simon Thomson, said: “We’re still on the lookout for volunteers on Vodafone’s cable products, and volunteers on all technologies, plans and providers in Christchurch, Hamilton and in rural areas.”

The testing month for the latest report was 15 September to 14 October 2019, coinciding with the Rugby World Cup.

Thomson said the measurements indicated that despite heavy demand during the testing period, including the All Blacks vs South Africa game, there had been little impact on consumers’ experience of the wider internet.

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Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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