There’s a lot of talk in New Zealand at the moment about our hopeless broadband. For example, The Herald has had a few posts about it lately:
Not a day goes by when the nzherald.co.nz inbox hasn’t got mail from angry internet subscribers who are paying for one thing and getting a whole lot less. …Take the test at Speedtest.net and let us see just how quick your connection is.
It’s very easy to shrug off poor line speed — ISPs have been doing it for years. But now we know for sure that there are tens of thousands of other New Zealanders in the same, leaky, broadband boat.
Quite a lot of the discussion revolves around Telecom, who captured a huge share of the market. I’m with TelstraClear. Until last month I was on the 10Gb package, meaning I could download up to 10 Gb of data per month. The maximum speeds are listed at: 4 Mbps downstream / 2 Mbps upstream.
A month ago I switched to the 20Gb package since I’m downloading a lot more video and audio content, as is my partner. Nominally that has the same maximum speeds. The other day though I received an email with this news:
for no extra charge your broadband download speed will be increased from 4Mbps to 10Mbps!
There is nothing you need to do to receive your increase. Your plan will be upgraded some time between now and the 1st of August.
Those numbers are about the same as when I took the test a week ago. They also revealed a latency to the Auckland server about 500 kilometres away of around 22ms. I need some education on latency — I actually have no idea whether 22ms is good bad or indifferent.
Wherever you are in the world, give the Speedtest a try: they have servers all over and offer comparisons between your results and results from your ISP, your counry, your region and other countries if you like. You can even take the test repeatedly and download your results history.
Oh, and to learn a bit about the undersea cable that connect New Zealand with the rest of the Internet world check out Colin Jackson’s post and links: Submarine cables — our world is wrapped in fibre:
New Zealand got its first Cook Strait cable in 1865, and its first international cable was laid by the government in 1876 from Sydney to Cable Bay in Nelson.
…the main cable we rely on is called Southern Cross. … Southern Cross is in the middle of an upgrade to about 1.2 Terabits per second capacity — that sounds like an unbelievable number until you realise that it only means the contents of a modern PC’s hard drive every second for the whole cable.
…The Southern Cross is really a ring of cables rather than just one cable. It forms a ring passing through Auckland, Sydney, California, Hawaii and back to Auckland.
…Having excellent connections back to the rest of the world is crucial to New Zealand if we want to be less reliant on primary produce like we keep saying we do.