Wednesday, 30 May 2018 12:28

'Baffled' New Zealanders to provide feedback on broadband

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'Baffled' New Zealanders to provide feedback on broadband Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thousands of New Zealand households are being roped in to help the country’s competition enforcement agency, The Commerce Commission, monitor and improve broadband performance.

The commission — which maintains many consumers are baffled by broadband — is seeking 3000 households to be part of the nationwide program with monitoring results and reports to be published on a dedicated website from October.

“Kiwis love being connected to the Internet and together we spend more than NZ$1.2 billion a year on home broadband bundles. Despite this, we know that many consumers find broadband baffling. Products and pricing can be complex and in-home performance can be hard for consumers to measure,” telecommunications commissioner Dr Stephen Gale said.

The program, to be run over three years, is costing NZ$2.8 million.

According to the Commission, the aim of the monitoring program is to provide consumers with independent information on broadband performance across different providers, plans, and technologies, to help them choose the best broadband for their household.

And the Commission says shining a light on actual broadband performance will also encourage telco providers to compete on performance and not just price.

“To make sure we get an accurate picture of how New Zealand’s broadband is performing, we need volunteers from all parts of the country, of all ages, and on all types of broadband technologies, plans and providers to take part,” Dr Gale said.

Volunteers will be provided with a whitebox (similar to a modem) to plug in at home, with the device performing automated tests on a home’s Internet connection at different times.

The Commission says, however, the whitebox will not record any personal information or browsing history and does not interfere with the Internet service.

“A small amount of your broadband data will be used to conduct testing. However, this is expected to have little to no impact on testing volunteers,” the Commission says.

Dr Gale said London-based Internet performance measurement company SamKnows had been selected to run the program following an open tender.

“SamKnows was a standout applicant. It is considered to be a world leader in Internet service performance, currently assessing broadband performance for about half of the world’s Internet population,” Dr Gale said.

Monitoring results and reports will be available on a dedicated website from October at www.measuringbroadbandnewzealand.com

To watch The Commerce Commission’s volunteer recruitment video click here, and to get more information on the program and details about how to become a volunteer click here.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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