According to worldwide rankings from
broadband comparison service Cable.co.uk, New Zealand currently has a mean
download speed of 16.6Mbps, compared to Australia with 7.7Mbps. This is all
about to change, however, with New Zealand's fixed-line telco company Chorus
recently announcing an extension to its 1Gbps fibre broadband service.
Ultra-fast broadband has been operational in Dunedin for a couple of years, and
will be made available across the entire Chorus Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB)
footprint from October. The current average download speed across the Chorus
network is 30.5 megabits per second (Mbps), with the upgrade allowing users to
achieve download speeds approaching 1000Mbps and uploads of up to 500Mbps.
According to Chorus CEO Mark Ratcliffe, the
company will offer the “maximum speed the network electronics allows today to
customers across the country... championing gigabit residential and business
services” and allowing New Zealand to be “catapulted up the league tables of
broadband speed rankings”. Broadband internet speeds in Dunedin jumped more
than 250 percent to 75Mbps after it won the Gigatown competition in 2014, thanks
mostly to new residential 1Gbps services made possible through
fibre-to-the-premises installations. The little city of Dunedin soon had speeds
more than twice as fast as Christchurch at 37Mbps, Wellington at 35Mbps, and
Auckland at 25Mbps. In fact, the average download speed in Dunedin is roughly
twice that of New York, Shanghai and London, and five times that of Sydney.
Internet speeds in Australia are a long way
from the 1000Mbps download and 500Mbps upload speeds that will soon be
available across New Zealand. To put things in perspective, Australians who
have signed up to the NBN currently receive download speeds within the range of
25Mbps, up to a possible maximum of 100 Mbps. Very few customers have been able
to access full speeds, which are still ten times slower than they are on the
other side of the pond. The NBN is also behind schedule, with the current aim
to have 8 million homes connected by 2020. While a growing number of smaller
Australian service providers have moved into the high-speed market with products
offering 1Gbps speeds, they are currently only available in specific areas.
By the time Chorus meets its expected
completion date in 2019, at least three quarters of New Zealanders will have
the chance to access ultra-fast broadband. The NZ government’s broadband
project was already 57 percent complete at the end of last financial year, and
will soon reach 75 percent of Kiwis who mostly occupy urban areas. While it
doesn't have the mandate to provide services to people in rural areas, this is
one of the reasons why it's being completed much faster than Australia's NBN.
Rural areas in New Zealand will be covered by the government’s already
completed rural broadband initiative (RBI), which provides speeds of 50Mbps.
With New Zealand currently in 30th position worldwide for internet speeds and
Australia in 55th, the gulf between the two neighbours only looks set to widen
Image source: Maxx-Studio/Shutterstock