Broadband speeds improving with local loop unbundling
by Paul McBeth
Dec. 20 (BusinessDesk) – Broadband speeds are about 20% faster when accessed through unbundled local loop services than through Telecom Corp.’s regular wholesale offering, according to the regulator’s latest six-monthly update.
Internet service providers with access to unbundled Telecom exchanges were able to offer substantially faster web-browsing speeds than ISPs through May and June, according to the Commerce Commission’s report on New Zealand broadband quality in the six months ended June 30.
In the regulator’s previous report, there was little difference between broadband services bought from Telecom Wholesale and those bought from Chorus via the unbundled local loop.
The report showed a reduction in the variability of browsing speeds throughout the day, and availability continued to improve, with only TelstraClear Ltd. missing the benchmark in February when it wasn’t able to offer access more than 43 minutes in the month.
Still, TelstraClear’s cable service was materially faster than copper-based digital subscriber line (DSL) services where it was available.
The report “shows the benefits of local loop unbundling which continues to provide greater choice and better services for consumers,” said Telecommunications Commissioner Ross Patterson in a statement. “Internet availability is also proving, with downtime reduced.”
In May, the previous report showed broadband was improving though more money was needed for backhaul services, which provide transmission routes between local exchanges and networks to offer landline and broadband services, and investment was required outside Auckland.
This year has been a battle for broadband, with Telecom under pressure to grab a share of the government’s $1.35 billion roll-out of high-speed internet as part of a 2008 election promise.
The national telco is in the box seat for a large chunk of the fund after it was made a priority bidder last week, with Wellington and Auckland in its sights.
Mobile operator Vodafone New Zealand Ltd. showed a noticeable improvement in Auckland web-browsing speeds. Vodafone offered the fastest speeds in Albany, central Auckland, and Mt Albert, using the unbundled service. TelstraClear DSL was the fastest ISP in Hamilton until June.
An unnamed ISP was the fastest provider in central Wellington central by the end of the period, while TelstraClear cable was again fastest in the Wellington suburb of Newtown.
TelstraClear’s unbundled local loop service in Christchurch city offered the quickest browsing, with its cable and DSL services the best in Linwood and Riccarton.
Dunedin’s best ISP was unbundled TelstraClear in June, though Telecom was the fastest through the entire period.
The commission’s report said DSL-based web-browsing speeds tend to be best in Auckland, getting progressively slower the further away they got from the country’s biggest city.