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ComCom finds NZ broadband compares well with Australia

By Zach Thompson
Wed 1 Jun 2022

A new report published by the Commerce Commission has found New Zealand's Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) compares well to Australia's National Broadband Network.

Published by the Commerce Commission and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the report compares select fibre and fixed wireless plans in New Zealand with similar offerings in Australia.

Telecommunications commissioner Tristan Gilbertson says the report confirms that the UFB network provides New Zealanders with access to world-class broadband services.

"Our Measuring Broadband New Zealand (MBNZ) quarterly reports have demonstrated the excellent speed and performance New Zealand consumers are experiencing," Gilbertson says.

"This report shows that our UFB network stacks up well against the best our neighbours have to offer.

"By the end of 2022, 87% of New Zealanders should have the ability to connect to fibre."

The report examines performance, presenting data for three selected similar broadband products, focusing on broadband speed and access technology, and is based on data recorded in Australia and New Zealand in September 2021.

"In the period since testing for this report was conducted, fibre wholesalers, including Chorus, have begun offering increased speeds of 300 Mbps on the 100 Mbps wholesale fibre connections at no extra cost to retailers, which means we now have even faster internet compared to Australia," Gilbertson says.

However, the report notes that Australian consumers receive faster download speeds on 4G fixed wireless networks than consumers in New Zealand.

"Benchmark reports like this are an opportunity to see where improvements can be made," ACCC commissioner Anna Brakey says.

"From Australia's perspective, the report reaffirms that the NBN is performing well but there are lessons we can take from New Zealand's fibre services, particularly as we review the NBN regulatory framework."

There is also a major difference between the performance of fibre and fixed wireless broadband connections in the two countries.

"The difference in performance demonstrates the value of providing this information to consumers to help them make informed decisions about the type of broadband that is right for them," says Mr Gilbertson.

"This reinforces why we issued our marketing guidelines last year, which has led to retailers using MBNZ speed results in their advertising."

This report comes after the Commerce Commission welcomed the creation of new marketing codes for the telecommunications industry, which it says will help consumers make more informed choices about the best broadband service for them.

The new codes were developed by the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) in response to guidelines issued by the Commission that utilise new powers to improve retail service quality for consumers.

The two binding industry codes formally commence on 7 May and 30 July 2022. The codes also formalise changes already made by broadband providers while creating an additional industry monitoring and enforcement mechanism.

The codes are the Broadband marketing code and Copper and PSTN transition code.

According to the TCF website, the Broadband marketing code 'requires providers who market broadband services to ensure that the information about the technical and performance characteristics of the broadband service is presented in a clear, accurate and up-to-date way'.

The Copper and PSTN transition code sets out a list of 'requirements that RSPs must meet when their customers are transitioning away from copper-based services due to copper withdrawal, PSTN switch off or a commercial decision means copper services will no longer be available in that area.'

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