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New Sky box, Oceania's fastest broadband

Download Weekly - NZ has region's fastest broadband, Sky Box update, Vodafone on cell site planning, Christchurch Call follow-up needs work
New Sky box, Oceania's fastest broadband

New Zealand broadband Oceania’s fastest

broadband speed survey conducted by cable.co.uk places New Zealand at 21 out of 220 countries with an average broadband download speed of 94.5 Mbps. It takes seven minutes and 14 seconds to download a 5GB movie.

Cable says New Zealand offers the fastest speeds in the Oceania region and is well ahead of second place Australia where average speeds are 47.2 Mbps. Australians can download the same 5GB movie in 14.5 minutes.

Macau has the world’s fastest average broadband speeds, clocking in at 262 Mbps. All the top five countries are tiny nations, four of them cover a small physical area; Macau, Jersey, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Gibraltar.

The survey pulls on more than a billion speed tests conducted worldwide. It includes all connection technologies including fibre, copper, fixed wireless and mobile. Cable points out the average speeds in its table are not line speeds, but speeds from devices to the internet. Often this will be over a wi-fi network.

Sky adds internet-only decoder option as Box roll-out nears

Sky says it will start rolling out its delayed decoder replacement by Christmas. The new $200 Sky Box satellite decoder replacement will be joined by Sky Pod, a $100 internet-only device. This will act as the replacement for the discontinued Vodafone TV set top box.

The pay TV company describes the new Sky Box as a hybrid device. It includes a satellite decoder along with broadband streaming hardware. It will support third-party services including Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney Plus.

There’s a terabyte hard drive for recording up to five shows at a time, but it costs an extra $15 a month to use the recording functionality. The Sky Box has a voice controlled remote and a customisable home screen.

Customers will be able to buy the new Sky Box for $200 or pay $10 a month.

Sky Pod customers will get broadband access to Sky TV without the need for a satellite dish. While there is no hard drive and no ability to record shows, Sky says Pod users will be able to go back to earlier shows on the electronic programme guide and there will be a ‘watch from start’ option.

At first Sky Pod will be exclusively for customers who currently use VodafoneTV to watch Sky. The company will contact Vodafone TV customers before the service closes at the end of November and offer them either the Pod or the Box.

Sky stocks will be limited during the early stages of the roll-out. The company will prioritise existing customers before opening it up to new customers. For now, there will not be an option to move from the existing satellite decoder to Sky Pod.

The new Sky hardware supports 4K television formats but Sky is yet to say when it will offer 4K streaming.

Vodafone to crowdsource cell site planning

Vodafone’s Pin Drop interactive Map is a tool to let the company’s mobile customers point out places where there’s poor mobile coverage. Customers can indicate on a map exactly where the get dropped calls, slow data or a lack of 5G coverage.

Tony Baird, Vodafone’s director of wholesale and infrastructure says the information will be used to help the company plan future cell site locations.

Work needed on Christchurch Call commitments

Andrew Cushen, interim chief executive at InternetNZ says governments and tech companies must do more to implement their commitments to tackle terrorist and violent extremist online material.

This week saw the prime minister and others attend the Christchurch Call Leaders’ Summit in New York.

Cushen says: “With more than 120 countries, tech companies, and civil society organisations involved in the Christchurch Call Community, there is great potential for change”.

He says: “We need tech companies to provide access to meaningful data to help researchers and others understand how algorithms work, and what role they play in driving Internet users towards extremist content and radicalisation.

“During the summit, New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced a new research initiative to understand the impact of algorithms on users’ online experiences while protecting people’s privacy online. We look forward to understanding more about this initiative and how it will help people working on these issues understand the impact of algorithms on online extremism.”

In other news….

InternetNZ says its research shows 71 per cent of local businesses believe .nz domains are more trustworthy than other domain names and that 76 per cent of consumers look for .nz when searching online.

Christchurch City Council, Spark and the telco’s technology partner Attentis have built an early fire detection sensor network in Waitākiri Bottle Lake Forest Park using IoT and artificial intelligence.

Vodafone says it has moved its enterprise resource planning, security, identity and all modern workplace office IT systems away from Vodafone Group. The move started when the local business was acquired from Vodafone Group by Infratil and Brookfield Asset Management in 2019.

Research company, the Dell’Oro Group says worldwide broadband equipment spendinghit a new record in the second quarter of this year. Total revenue was US$4.5 billion, up 12 percent on the year earlier. Dell’Oro Group says spending on passive optical networking equipment is fuelling growth as “The transition to fibre is clearly a worldwide phenomenon, no longer isolated to a handful of countries”.

Northland-based online cyber security training business SafeStack has launched a free plan for small businesses in an attempt to prepare a million people to protect themselves and their organisations from online crime.

Thales says nine in ten (91 per cent) New Zealand IT professionals have a “degree of confidence in their user access security systems to enable remote work securely”. The number is up from 82 per cent a year ago.

Genesis Energy has developed an ‘energy roaming’ network for electric vehicle, making it cheaper and easier for drivers to charge their EVs when out and about. The deal lets customers use ChargeNet’s 280 hubs throughout New Zealand for the same rate they pay at home.