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Your views: What you thought about Kiwi broadband

The results of our broadband speed survey are nearly ready - but in the meantime, here's what nzherald.co.nz readers had to say about the state of 'high speed internet' in New Zealand.

A telecommunications expert this morning said that anything under two megabits per second is "not real broadband".

COMMENTS

Brendon, North Shore

Nice to see a reputable organisation (the Herald) gathering some decent data on this issue. My experience with broadband for the last few years now has been pathetic, and it's time something was done about it.

I tested my connection this afternoon and got 1240Kbps Download and 134Kbps Upload on Xtra's Go Large plan, but have had much worse results using the same server on speedtest.net in the past.

When I first signed up for Xtra broadband I was told I had an unusually fast connection to my local exchange.


Moss

Well, how extraordinary! Incredible! Amazing!

Quite by chance I've been using that speed test applet for the past few weeks, as I've had many speed issues with my IHUG Internet account.

The fastest download rate I ever recorded was a fabulous 2044 kb/s, but that was immediately after I'd given Ihug a major rocket about my sluggish link and they'd promised to sort it out.

Prior to that I considered myself extremely lucky to break the 1,000 kb/s. A couple of days after I'd complained again and finally got a better result, I was back down to those sub-1000 kb/s speeds and stayed there.

Until today. Now I hit an absolutely *unbelievable* 3,470 kb/s! Yep, you heard me right: on a scandalously expensive so-called 3,500 kb/s connection which almost 'never' exceeded even 1,000 kb/s, I'm 'suddenly' hitting almost 3.5 Mb/s!

I wonder why that should happen after the New Zealand Herald asks people to test their speeds and post the results.

I'm sure the ISPs haven't all suddenly panicked and opened the throttle, right? That's a cynical viewpoint and shame on me for even suspecting such a thing.

Seriously, a week from now if people run the same test they will all find the speed restrictions firmly back in place. You know it, I know it, everybody knows it.

Ian


Overall I'm not dissatisfied with the speeds I'm getting. I guess I'm used to waiting several minutes for Apple's latest security download and such. The slow uploads are a pain when I'm sending photos out.

Everyone forgets that a download can only be as fast as the server's upload speed. If everyone was choked back to ADSL speeds no-one could download faster than 135kb/s or thereabouts.

However, roll on full movie downloads in 2 minutes!

Peter

I "took the test" as suggested using my TelstraClear Cable Broadband (10gb/ 4mb/s monthly plan bundled with Cable TV and phone) from Wainuiomata (Lower Hutt).

The results were as follows:
Auckland Server 4,240kb/s Download, 1,926kb/s upload, with 57ms latency.

Interestingly, the results for the closer server (Napier) were slightly slower at 4,170kb/s and 1,891kb/s respectively.

Have to say that as a former ISP owner in Sydney, Australia during the Nineties, this level of performance is far superior to what we offered (and shared between) thousands of dial-up users back then!

Chris

My Woosh broadband connection (around 1km from their head office) is no faster with surfing than a good dial up most of the time.

If your speed has been reduced due to going over your cap, then your month ticks over, your speeds are supposed to increase.

But they expect you to know to unplug your modem and reconnect it in order to get your 'faster' speeds back, no one told me this, nor have I read it anywhere.

Average time waiting on phone for them = 20 mins. Connection fails at least twice a week, and needs restarting/repairing. HURRY UP NAKED BROADBAND!

Peter

The Australian Government has undertaken a survey of speeds etc and their report is available on

http://www.acma.gov.au/webwr/_assets/main/lib310008/internet_quality_of_service_report_2004-05.pdf

Interesting to note is that DSL customers would typically get about 80% their contract speed. The portion on Wireless providers is unfair as not all wireless systems are the same. For example Whoosh and Wired Country give different experiences and there are lots of really fast unlicensed spectrum networks out there providing really good sized bandwidth.

The TCPIQ website referred to in the report gives a good comparison between NZ ISPs and the types of service that they receive. The time-of-day graphs are good.

Edward

For those of you who think your broadband connection is rubbish spare a thought for those of us who can't even get decent dialup let alone broadband.

My download was 21kb/s and a surprising 85kb/s upload. Telecom's response to the when will we be getting broadband question was "we have no plans of ever upgrading that exchange". As for distance to the exchange, it's around 150 metres.

Kelvin

I recorded an average 3Mbps download - pretty good I reckon. Looks like the NZ average is also not significantly worse than any other country, and given the prices which are low compared to how much you pay for say, Sky TV or a cup of coffee, then I think its fine.

So what is everyone so worked up about?

Mike, Meadowbank

I live on the border of Remuera and Meadowbank, and connect to the Remuera Road exchange.

My broadband performance is shockingly bad to say the least. On a good day I'll get around 1Mbps per second, but then periodically for a week or so the best I'll get is 256kbps a second.

I've spoken to Telecom on a number of occasions and have basically been told, 'tough'.

Apparently, I'm a) too far from the exchange (5km) and b) there's a splice in my line where the line was repaired. This is ridiculous - and I'm faced with no alternative! The last time I spoke to Telecom it was suggested I move!

We're supposed to be a first world country, yet we have the infrastructure of a third world country.

Cynical, Wellington

The issue isn't the Auckland speed - it was over 1.5Mbps (on XTRA Go Large plan), Napier was almost 3Mbps.

The issue is the International speeds - only 300kbps to Sydney and 50kbps to New York (i.e. dialup speed!).

That is why the speeds are so slow - any time traffic has to come from outside NZ (and thanks to the ISP de-peering Xtra drove, this includes many NZ sites) it becomes very slow.

Xtra should explain to their customers that they will never get substantial international download speeds, and also come clean on just how much "backhaul" international capacity they make available to the Xtra users in NZ.

John Scott

Not one of you bloggers has made any mention of the OECD report into basic level broadband and its costs.

NZ was rated as the 7th cheapest for this style of broadband. Of course it doesn't suit your continuous campaign against Telecom does it ?

Steph

We are with ihug's broadband 6 plan.

Up until now we had a speed between 3000 and 5000, since 1 week and a half our speed has droped to 400...
We have been told that it was Telecom problem, Ponsonby exchange has more users and until Telecom doesnt get more complains they won't do anything about it. Basically we have to live with it!

We don't know what to do. As you can see we are paying 100 Dollars for that!

Kumaran Govender

I'm quite surprised that you haven't received any positive e-mails about broadband speeds.

I was on Telecom's ADSL service for a few years and I must say that I got decent service. It was only after Xtra went full speed that my speed turned to custard.

I then went onto Telstra's cable modem service. The service is excellent. The plan that I am on is the Highspeed 10gig. Download/upload speed on this plan is set to 4Mbps/2Mbps. Tested download speed is 4249kbps and upload speed is 971kbps.

Michael

When I arrived back in Auckland to do some contract work, I was horrified at the erratic nature of "broadband" in N.Z. No two measurements gave the same results - or even similar :-(

Having returned to the U.S. I now appreciate how much the "boom and bust" of the late '90s has made capacity cheap here.

Paul

For what it's worth....

My theoretical max speed the modem connects to the exchange at is 5200kbs (down) / 128kpbs (up) which sounds great on paper - but its like having a Ferrari (modem) on a congested Auckland motorway at rush hour!

I have been monitoring my connection on and off for the past 6-12 months and have the following stats.

The actual throughput achieved on average was around 400kbps/128kbps, but often at peak times (most evenings) it would drop to around 130kpbs/90kbps and often as little as 45kpbs/45kbps which is around the same as a dial up modem.

There is also a huge disparity between local and international traffic which implies to me there is a capacity issue between the local exchanges and the major internet backbones.

My connection was costing me $95/mth which was capped at 20Gb of traffic.

For US$40 I can get a traffic unlimited connection that regularly delivers the expected rates of 5000kbs/384kbs to most parts of the world from the US (ie to Asia, UK, AU etc) - I have not seen these sorts of speeds within NZ (I used iHug and also tested on friend's Xtra connections).

Hope this makes a difference as NZ is fast becoming a 3rd world backwater as far as the internet is concerned, which is a shame.

I definitely blame several decades of under investment in our telecom infrastructure.

Daniel Sloan

I'm paying for an 'unleashed' plan, and getting this.

Service drops off totally after midnight and is often out of action for hours. Streaming videos is hopeless.

This is not worth the $70 a month we pay. Good to hear Telecom is fronting up millions in investing in their Australian subsidiary - how about giving us a break?

Welcome to the dark ages - you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. Thank you to the Herald for looking into this - it's sad that highlighting a major factor in the development of our country is left to the major dailies, instead of the companies that the government meddles in half-heartedly.

They'll tell us what we can and can't eat, but they won't put any fibre in our diet. Hopeless.

Al

I personally don't think speedtest.net is much to go on, as I can run the test many times and get different speeds each time.

That being said, last time I ran it I got 7261kb/s down and 1903kb/s up.

I'm on a TelstraClear lightspeed (cable) connection, so it's not too far off the advertised 10mb down 2mb up.

However, this speed only holds true for NZ sites, and I think we all know that most of the internet is actually outside NZ.

My speed when accessing the Sydney speedtest server drops to a measly 609kb/s down and 537kb/s up - that's less than 10% of my advertised rate!

My speed to the States is around the same. I think ISP's should advertise international speeds as well as local...

Fred

I'm on Xtra Go Large that has no capping. Cost is $50/mth.

They scrapped Go Large recently, but a choice was given - either change plan or continue with Go Large.

I know that broadband is slow in NZ. Little do I know that the speed cab be as slow as 5kbps. This is dialup speed. How can they have the cheek to charge $50 and give us that sort of speed.

Just received an email from Xtra - "if you are not happy, you can change your plan". If I'm in customer service, never will I be allow to tell a customer "if you are not happy, change your plan". It just shows how arrogant and rude these people are.

Roddy, Hamilton

I see 1.6megs per second is better than South America!

Ha ha - but half that of Australia!! Ripped off again, huh!?

Hamish

I've been using TelstraClear cable internet for a good 7 months now, and have been very pleased with the service.

I consistently get between 3-4 Mbits, and a reasonable data cap of 20GB.

Never again will I touch a DSL service, unless the exchanges in my area get a revamp to VDSL or SDSL.

Nothing but grief from every other ISP I have tried, including several local wireless ISPs, Woosh and Vodafone's 3G.

Telstraclear is hands down the winner, yet sadly not available to the masses.

Meyer

Tip of the trade - dunno if I should let everyone in on the secret, but oh well..

Contact your ISP help desk and tell them you would like a faster connection to the exchange (Your modem settings can tell you your connection rate).

Once you have the reference number, give them 24 hours and email the help desk and ask if you have been moved.

Keep doing this until you get a faster connection rate (around 3 - 5mbps is good).

I sent a total of 12 emails before I got moved ....
Now I enjoy average (in my books) internet speeds in none peak times.

Mind you, on the Go Large plan, averaging 50GB a month, I must be an Xtra favourite. (I use iHug for email)


Uber nerd

Uber nerd

I have just been connected to "broadband" today and the speed is not much better than dialup.

Shame on the government for not regulating enough.

Because New Zealanders are paying more for less right now. The technology is old, the broadband network can't handle the traffic and everything is laggy from overloading... which is strange, since less than 30% of the population is using it.

Such old technology should not be so slow, we have tiny datacaps and incredibly slow speeds - why can't even the most basic technology function properly?

New Zealand will never see international standard broadband, because the standard moves too fast for us.

Craig

We went with Broadband about 18 months back so that we could use the telephone when the teenagers were on the internet and due to the fact that dial up had become slow and near unusable for downloads.

Initial impressions were excellent with speed above expectations.

18 months long the road and what a different story.
Broadband has slowed down markedly to the point you wonder some days what you're paying the extra for.

iHug have had a number of big outages and the bad weather in Auckland in the last two weeks has also had an impact that no one has explained.

Overall NZ needs to sort itself out with Broadband.

A bit of number 8 wire and then no development is not the way to go.

Broadband's ended up being little different to the Auckland Motorway system in the end. Sad, but the Kiwi way?

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