Fishy numbers claim NZ entry-level broadband among most expensive

CommsDay reports on claims New Zealanders pay one of the world’s highest prices for entry-level residential broadband.

In its survey for the fourth quarter of 2014, UK-based market researchers Point Topic ranked New Zealand at 77 out of 85 surveyed countries. Australia ranks at 76.

Point Topic says it tracked 2,674 residential broadband services from 279 operators in 85 countries.

According to the survey Poland has the lowest entry-level prices for residential broadband. India, Vietnam, Japan and Venezuela all rank at the cheap end of the scale.

At the other extreme consumers in Thailand, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Jordan, Kenya, Qatar and Argentina all pay more than New Zealanders for entry-level broadband.

When it comes to the average monthly cost of broadband New Zealand fares better. Point Topic ranks the nation at 32 in the world. Australia sits at 40 on that list.

Point Topic says it includes services offered over copper, cable and fibre networks in Q4 2014. There’s no information about whether it has taken GST or other taxes into account

Fishy numbers

There’s something odd about Point Topic’s numbers. On the page where it looks at the global residential broadband tariff picture Point Topic says the global average price of a residential broadband service for the fourth quarter of 2014 is $82.86, up from $80.82 in the third quarter. Presumably the quoted price is in US dollars.

At today’s rate of exchange, that number is roughly NZ$113. If we compare that with the table of Unlimited fibre broadband plans you’ll see that amount of money buys a lot of fibre broadband in New Zealand. Most unlimited plans cost less than the so-called average global price for residential broadband. Indeed, you have to move up to a 200Mbps plan to spend that much.

So how does that square with New Zealand ranking at 40 for the average price of residential broadband?

More fact checking

Poland may have the world’s most affordable broadband, but according to ZDNet, the service isn’t what we would call fast.

…the percentage of broadband connections in Poland with a speed of at least 2Mbps increased from 48 percent in 2010 to 74 percent in 2011, so there is progress being made.

And apparently the network is heavily subsidised by the EU. Which means at least some of the cost of using Polish broadband is hidden from users.

All-in-all there’s little to get excited about here. Rather than worry about coming 77 in a world ranking that may or may not obey a consistent internal logic, we can take comfort that New Zealanders pay roughly the same as Australians for an entry-level broadband account and on average pay less than Australians.

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