3 min read

Fibre uptake at 70 per cent, Auckland 5G lags region

UFB uptake hits 70 percent as NZ climbs broadband rankings. Auckland a regional laggard for 5G availability.
New Zealand's search and rescue satellite Earth station
Maritime New Zealand has begun upgrading the search and rescue satellite Earth station. The Earth station, which is located halfway between Rotorua and Taupō is the first step for dealing with distress beacon signals anywhere in the 30 million square kilometres making up New Zealand’s search and rescue area.

UFB uptake hits 70 percent as NZ climbs broadband rankings

Seven out of ten homes connected to the UFB network have taken up fibre broadband. The June 2022 report from Crown Infrastructure Partners says 86.3 per cent of New Zealanders can now access the UFB network and a total of 380 towns and cities are connected. The network now reaches 591 marae.

The rural broadband programme added a further 2,635 homes and businesses in the quarter bringing the total to 75,299. Uptake on Rural Connectivity Group towers now sits at 42 per cent.

This month saw RCG tower number 350 connect to the network at Te Ākau, 50km from Hamilton in the Waikato.

The investment in broadband has seen New Zealand move up two places to number 10 in Speedtest’s world ranking for fixed broadband speed. The median download speed is now 127.88 Mbps while uploads are 88.27 Mbps and latency is 6ms.

Speedtest’s graph shows a distinct upwards tick late last year when fibre companies moved customers on 100 Mbps plans to 300 Mbps.

Measuring broadband New Zealand

As far as the big picture goes, the winter 2022 Measuring Broadband New Zealand report from the Commerce Commission shows little overall change in download and upload speeds when compared with recent reports.

The standout in this report was an increase in average speeds for My Republic fibre customers. In the previous report My Republic’s top fibre speeds were off the pace with the Singaporean company clocking in at 820 Mbps compared with an average of 856 Mbps at other ISPs. This time, MyRepublic was more in line with its rivals.

Telecommunications Commissioner Tristan Gilbertson points out this shows the value of the Measuring Broadband report as it gives ISPs an incentive to lift performance.

Auckland a regional laggard for 5G availability

Auckland scores at the top of the range for download and upload speeds in Opensignal’s Asia Pacific 5G experience benchmark. The city is third behind Seoul and Kuala Lumpur for download speed and fourth, with Taipei in third, for upload speed.

Yet the city is second last when it comes to availability, that’s the proportion of time a customer is connected to 5G. It also ranks near the bottom for reach.

Opensignal measured the 5G experience in 11 Asia Pacific cities. Seoul wins the majority of categories, citizens get an average download speed of 453 mbps. Aucklanders see 280 mbps ahead of Sydney which clocks in at 212 mbps. Jakarta brings up the rear with 65 mbps.

Upload speeds average 53 mbps in Kuala Lumpar and hit 28 mbps in Auckland. Sydney is a long way behind at 17 mbps while Tokyo is bottom with 12 mbps.

Opensignal says Auckland is second best for 5G video experience but ranks eight out of 11 for games experience.

‘Availability’ measures the amount of time a user is connected to the 5G network. In Seoul users are on the 5G network 43 percent of the time. In Auckland this drops to six percent. ‘Reach’ is a measure of the proportion of the locations a user visited that had 5G. For Aucklanders this is 2.8 percent. These measures tell you how much of the network is built in a city. For Auckland there is a long way still to go.

Tuanz: “Make better rural comms a priority”

A report from the Tech Users Association backs calls for the government to prioritise high quality connectivity, especially in rural, semi-rural and remote parts of New Zealand.

Tuanz CEO Craig Young says: “While urban New Zealand has enjoyed a seamless experience, rural, sub-rural and remote users have not always experienced the same standard of connectivity.”

Young is speaking after Tuanz published its insights from the 2022 Rural Connectivity Symposium. In addition to making high-quality connectivity a priority service, the document wants the rural telecommunications experience to equal urban coverage, capacity and affordability.

Spark IoT network monitoring Waikato water quality

Spark’s CAT-M1 Internet of Things network is connecting sensors collecting hourly updates on water quality in the Manga-o-tama catchment in Waikato. The data shows up on a dashboard allowing scientists to check water quality in an important migration route for native fish and eels.

NZ Compare adds mobile to broadband awards

This year’s NZ Compare awards will include mobile categories for the first time. There will be awards for the best mobile network, best customer support, best network for business and best value. The awards will be announced at an Auckland event on December 1.

Disclosure – I was a judge for last year’s awards.

In other news…

Kordia says it is one of the first businesses to move its live production data in the new CDC hyper scale data centres.

Te Whatu Ora, Health New Zealand, is running a trial of Biostickers. The wearable technology promises to take pressure off hospitals by letting patients stay at home. The devices relay data on skin temperature, heart rates and other measurements to medical professionals.

Microsoft says its New Zealand data centre region will use carbon zero electricity. The hyper scale cloud company signed a deal with Ecotricity, a sustainable energy company to use power sourced from solar, wind or hydro.