Commerce Commission at odds with Chorus on fixed wireless broadband performance

A new consumer infographic from the Commerce Commission could undermine Chorus’ efforts to promote fixed broadband services as being superior to fixed wireless.

A new consumer infographic from the Commerce Commission, the first in a series designed to demystify telecommunications for consumers, could undermine Chorus’ efforts to promote fixed broadband services as being superior to fixed wireless.

In its annual results announcement last week Chorus reported a decline in broadband connections as a result of competitors’ promoting wireless broadband and CEO Kate McKenzie said the company had launched an advertising campaign to promote the benefits and availability of better fixed line broadband in response to the growing competition from wireless broadband.

In a presentation at the results announcement Chorus cited TrueNet’s Urban Broadband report of July 2017 to claim the average download speed for a web page using fixed wireless to be 8Mbps, ADSL 9Mbps, VDSL 16Mbps. The Commerce Commission infographic, however shows fixed wireless at 10-40Mbps, ADSL and 5-15Mbps and VDSL at 20-55Mbps.

The Commission’s figures are also based on TrueNet data, from January to June 2017. The difference between the two sets of data is that Chorus says its figures are specifically for web page browsing and it claims “Fixed wireless performs about the same as ADSL for webpage browsing.”

The Commerce Commission infographic indicates that fixed wireless is better suited to medium level internet usage than ADSL. It defines medium level usage as “Checking emails, browsing the web, using social media, streaming audio, streaming video and gaming.”

The Commerce Commission says its infographic, How do I choose my broadband? “encourages consumers to think about how their household uses the internet before deciding how much data and what speed they might need from their plan.” It also breaks down the different technologies available and encourages consumers to to see what technology is available in their area.

Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Stephen Gale said the retail telecommunications sector generated a high level of complaints from consumers and was a priority area for the commission across both its consumer and regulation work.

“The initial focus for these infographics is to provide consumers with plain English information to help them make informed purchasing decisions,” he said.

“Future infographics will provide more information including how consumers can test and improve their broadband speed and performance, and what avenues are available to them to resolve issues.”


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