Despite unprecedented demand, New Zealand’s fibre and copper broadband networks performed well during the Covid–19 lockdown.

Testing done on behalf of the Commerce Commission by UK-based independent agency SamKnows shows there was no significant decrease in download speeds on fibre or copper networks.

Fixed wireless broadband did not perform as well. SamKnows reports average fixed wireless download speeds fell by around 25 percent.

The report found fibre responsiveness consistently outperformed all other technologies. Fibre latency came in at under 20ms 90 percent of the time. This is important for applications like Zoom video calls and makes a huge difference to the online gaming experience.

SamKnows reports that games hosted in New Zealand had lower latency than games hosted overseas.

Telecommunications commissioner Dr Stephen Gale says: “Chorus and other providers reported record levels of online activity. But despite that increase, the latest report from our independent testing partner, SamKnows, shows that copper and Fibre 100 plans continued to perform well, with average download speeds unaffected.

“We’re pleased to see that Fibre Max speeds have again increased, but there is still a significant variation of results on these plans. We are working with the industry to understand the causes of this, which involves looking at hardware and the performance of individual networks."

The report notes the average download speed of Fibre Max plans, that is gigabit wholesale fibre, increased by around 50Mbps since the earlier report. The jump is down to improved performance by a single service provider.