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Bill Bennett


New Zealand’s Fastest ISPs 2014

PC Magazine asked me to write about New Zealand’s fastest ISPs as part of a series looking an online speeds in countries around the world.

The story uses data collected by Ookla, the company behind speedtest.net and uses aggregated data collected by the online service. Ookla found New Zealand has an average download speed of 20.96 Mbps. That’s respectable, but not great. It ranks us at 45 out of 188 measured countries. We’re a long way behind Hong Kong which averages 89.4 Mbps, but then we are not a small, compact city-state.

The good news is that we’re already comfortably ahead of Australia, which gets just 16.0 Mbps. That’s only going to get better as our nationwide UFB and RBI networks gather momentum.

So who are the fastest ISPs? You’ll have to read the story to get the full details. We’ve found the nationwide fastest ISP and broken down the results for Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch too.

Copper, fibre, mobile

As I say in the report, it’s not a perfect measure as Ookla doesn’t differentiate between copper, fibre or mobile data connections. And aggregation means ISPs with more rural customers will look worse than those operating mainly in the big centres. Hence:

Spark (formerly Telecom NZ) and Vodafone dominate New Zealand’s broadband market; together they account for around three-quarters of all connections. Smaller ISPs get better average speeds in our table. That’s in part because Ookla doesn’t differentiate between mobile data and fixed-line broadband, nor does the nationwide figure take the huge gulf between rural and urban speeds into account. Spark and Vodafone have many mobile and rural data customers, while 2degrees is mobile-only, which also means lower average speeds.

I understand PC Mag intends to repeat these tests. That will be interesting as it means we’ll get an external look at how the government’s UFB and RBI projects change overall performance. We’ll also see if our new networks lift our broadband performance relative to the rest of the world.

Readers with long memories may recall I was managing editor of the Australian and New Zealand editions of PC Magazine when the titles where printed here in the mid-1990s. 



4 thoughts on “New Zealand’s Fastest ISPs 2014

  1. I have to debunk your comparison even further.
    Ookla cannot tell if the end user of each test is wired or wifi. NZ ISPs have long provided free wifi, increasing the probability the wifi will be old, maybe only 2Mb/s
    These tests are usually used to either show off or find faults, in either case distorting comparisons.
    Typical show off tests may include multiple tests from a GigE office network, distorting the results further.
    Tests consume upwards of 7MB, further distorting where the tests are done, eg how many on free wifi?

    You could have compared TrueNet results with FCC(USA), IGA(Singapore ) and Ofcom(UK) for a more realistic result, that could also be related to services actually available

    1. If ISPs provide rubbish Wi-Fi routers limiting speed on their service, surely that’s a legitimate component of measuring relative performance?

  2. That is a timing thing, the wifi may have been premium when provided. Many would never upgrade a wifi that works, not understanding that newer wifi is faster.
    After all wifi is wifi isn’t it?
    I use 802.11ac and it runs at 450Mb/s, on a 14Mb/s ADSL link the wifi speed hardly matters. However we soon move to UFB and then it matters. I wonder how many UFB connections use 802.11n and are limited to 50Mb/s maybe (depends on manufacture)


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