Average NZ broadband usage hits 41GB/month

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 22-Jul-2014 09:50

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll know that the Commerce Commission last year announced plans to cut the price of regulated xDSL based broadband products in NZ. UBA (Unbundled Bitstream Access) is the base Chorus wholesale product that every ISP uses to deliver xDSL based broadband (ADSL, ADSL2+ and VDSL2) in New Zealand.

In recent months there has been a lot of discussion within the NZ telco space about Chorus plans to offer a new commercial xDSL based product. This commercial product will offer vastly superior performance than the current regulated offering, but will come at a price premium. Opinion in the industry is split over these moves – some see it as very smart move by Chorus to offer end users an enhanced product; some see it as a cynical move by Chorus to make price cuts irrelevant and force ISPs to pay extra (in effect maintaining the current price) for Boost products to meet the growing demand from data hungry customers.

My personal view is that it’s proof the Commerce Commission are inept and lack any real understanding of the broadband space they’re currently trying to regulate. Essentially they’ve been pwned by Chorus who’s plan is to offer a commercial xDSL offering to ISPs capable of delivering an average of 5Mbps per user over a 15 minute period, while users of the Commerce Commission regulated offering are stuck with an outdated regulated product with a regulated design target of 32kbps per user delivered over a 15 minute period. The fact the Commerce Commission publically see no issue with a handover dimensioning target of 32kbps per user in 2014 shows a real lack of understanding of the industry they’re overseeing.

The Commerce Commission today released the latest Chorus submission on their Boost offerings, which you can read here.

In that submission where some very interesting stats on broadband usage and data caps in New Zealand which you can see below. Namely that:

Chorus stats now put the average NZ internet usage at 41GB per month as of mid 2014

And the following chart showing the mix of caps


chorus plan spread

Other related posts:
Spark Paging network shutdown – the event nobody cares about? Not quite.
UFB voice, power cuts, copper invincibility and mainstream media FUD.
New Zealand’s growing BUBA problem (AKA I feel sorry for you if you’re on a Conklin)

Comment by Zeon, on 22-Jul-2014 17:28

So it seems at the moment that while Chorus is mandated to provide a minimum speed to users of the regulated copper offering, for ADSL2 style infrastructure they practically provide whatever speed the line can support all the way back to the ISP.

With Boost they are looking to continue this but only if the ISPs pay more otherwise they will provide the regulated service?

Thus unless people pay more, their service will get really slow?

If so makes sense for Chorus.

Author's note by sbiddle, on 22-Jul-2014 19:31

Basically - yes.

Chorus are required to provide 32kbps per user averaged over 15 minutes which is the Commerce Commission regulated offering. At present they're providing significantly more than that (in effect no dimensioning at all on EUBA) and have clearly taken the view that if the Commerce Commission are going to cut the price of the UBA regulated offering that it's about time they offered the product they're required to, rather than exceed the requirements.

Comment by Ragnor, on 23-Jul-2014 13:54

32kbps is a minimum not a maximum there's no reason for Chorus to artificially restrict supply other than than "monopoly player" bad behaviour.

The ComCom should be regularly reviewing the minimums that were negotiated by savy Telecom Wholesale staff years ago.... but they wouldn't have to if Chorus just delivered a proper service instead of coming out with hairbrained schemes to restricted one offering while selling a more expensive unrestricted

Chorus knew that the current copper pricing methodology was going to move from "retail minus" to "cost plus" and that that cost plus price would be based on international benchmarks years.

They got a bonus 3 year delay, they should have been prepared.

Natural monopolies will always do what monopolies do (maximise profit via artificial scarcity), we need a strong, smart regulator around because un-regulated was (and would be) worse.

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Steve Biddle
New Zealand

I'm an engineer who loves building solutions to solve problems.

I also love sharing my views and analysis of the tech world on this blog, along with the odd story about aviation and the travel industry.

My interests and skillset include:

*VoIP (Voice over IP). I work with various brands of hardware and PBX's on a daily basis
  -Asterisk (incl PiaF, FreePBX, Elastix)

  -xDSL deployments

*Structured cabling
  -Home/office cabling
  -Phone & Data

*Computer networking
  -Mikrotik hardware
  -WAN/LAN solutions

*Wireless solutions
  -Motel/Hotel hotspot deployments
  -Outdoor wireless deployments, both small and large scale
  -Temporary wireless deployments
*CCTV solutions
  -Analogue and IP

I'm an #avgeek who loves to travel the world (preferably in seat 1A) and stay in nice hotels.

+My views do no represent my employer. I'm sure they'll be happy to give their own if you ask them.

You can contact me here or by email at stevenbiddle@gmail.com