NZ broadband 'doing OK'

New Zealand's internet speeds are in the middle of the pack, but could benefit from a greater uptake of the ultra fast-broadband (UFB) initiative, an industry commentator says.

Telecommunications Users' Association of NZ (TUANZ) chief executive Craig Young said New Zealand was "doing ok" on the world stage.

"At the moment we seem to be coming out somewhere in the middle of the pack, certainly not towards the top, but to be fair we seem to be moving up the list slowly.

"But, given where we are right now, there's still quite a bit to go before we're in that top 10."

The UFB rollout would help New Zealand move up the rankings ladder, but getting users to take up the service was proving a problem, Young said.

"We are leading the world when it comes to that particular programme, but I think people forget that's actually happening."

"Our efforts are now turning to working with people and businesses to encourage them to actually start using the services."

His comments come after Dunedin-based video-game developer Dean Hall slammed the Gigatown winning city for its slow internet.

The RocketWerkz chief executive told the Otago Daily Time he remained unconnected to ultra-fast broadband (UFB) three months after setting up in Dunedin.

Hall said his zombie survival game DayZ made more than $100 million and that he had ambitious plans for his Dunedin studio but was being held back by a lack of UFB access.

He later said after speaking to Chorus, Dunedin City Council and his provider, Snap Internet he was receiving help getting connected.

Hall's comments come after a speed index list released by Netflix last week ranked New Zealand 13th out of 29 countries

Netflix ranked Snap, an internet service provider (ISP) recently bought by 2degrees, as the fastest provider in New Zealand, with an average of 3.77 megabits per second (Mbps).

Vodafone came in close second (3.76 Mbps), followed by Orcon (3.55 Mbps) and Bigpipe (3.45 Mbps).

Chorus spokesman Nathan Beaumont said aggregated bandwidth growth on their copper network had been forecast to grow at over 65 per cent each year.

However, in the first four months of this year there had been a 50 per cent increase, which correlated with an uptake in streaming video on demand (SVOD) services such as Netflix, Sky's Neon and Spark's Lightbox.

"High definition video is the single biggest driver of bandwidth growth in New Zealand today.

"While Chorus was ready for a reasonable uptake of online video we, like others in the industry, did not expect such a massive increase in traffic in such a short period of time," he said.

"In terms of the UFB rollout, where practicable, we work with local councils to speed up the rollout.

"We appreciate that many people want to access UFB and we're working as fast as we can to make that possible."

Data obtained from results ranks New Zealand as having the 42nd fastest internet in the world with an average download speed of 27.39 Mbps.

Singapore tops the list, with an average download speed of 121.8 Mbps.

Spark that internet usage had spiked this year due to a "video streaming revolution".

More New Zealanders than ever were shifting to higher data or unlimited broadband plans and enjoying online entertainment services such as streaming video on demand (SVOD), Spark home, mobile & business chief executive Chris Quin said.

Lightbox CEO Kym Niblock said SVOD services were having a huge impact on the way New Zealanders used the internet and work was underway to fast-track planned Spark Network capacity upgrades to facilitate the surge.

By Brendan Manning of the New Zealand Herald

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