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ComCom announces a much broader next phase of MBNZ

The Commerce Commission has unveiled the next phase of Measuring Broadband New Zealand (MBNZ), widening the programme to cover new technologies.

In addition, the next phase will encompass additional providers and geographies, as well as offer volunteers an added bonus.

The Commission has been monitoring residential broadband performance since 2007, partnering with SamKnows to launch the MBNZ programme in 2018.

The programme has subsequently published quarterly reports to provide independent information that shows broadband performance through varying providers, plans and technologies, equipping consumers with the means to make confident and informed decisions about their connectivity.

The Commission recently reviewed the MBNZ programme, and after a competitive tender process, SamKnows has been appointed to continue delivering the programme for the next three years.

Providers who offer fixed wireless (including 5G), satellite technologies, and those with a rural customer base (without fibre broadband services) will make up most of the additional providers included in the next phase.

“We’re excited about the next phase of the programme and what it means for Kiwi consumers, particularly those who aren’t able to get fibre, who will have a much clearer picture of the speed of other connectivity options,” says Tristan Gilbertson, Telecommunications Commissioner, Commerce Commission.

Gilbertson notes that consumers are the backbone of the MBNZ programme through their enabling of access to real-world data about how the internet is performing in New Zealand homes.

Further, he calls on more consumers to volunteer to support the next phase.

“Our existing volunteers are the reason we have been able to help other Kiwis to make informed broadband decisions and create a real incentive for service providers to innovate and compete on performance, not just price,” Gilbertson says.

“We are looking for more volunteers, especially those on fixed wireless and satellite, to enable us to accurately measure and report on the performance of these other technologies.

“An added benefit for volunteers in the next phase of the programme is access to ‘RealSpeed’ functionality which allows them to test the performance of their in-home WiFi. This will help them to discern whether any issues with their broadband are due to their connection, their WiFi, or their device.”

The Commission explains that current volunteers do not need to do anything. Their results will continue to contribute to the MBNZ programme as it expands to include more technologies across a broader area.

However, those who wish to participate can volunteer by signing up at the MBNZ website, and priority will be given to those on the technologies and in the areas that the programme’s next phase is focused on testing.

Moreover, consumers can expect the first set of results from the next phase to be available in early 2023, when the Commission hopes to be able to publish performance information for Starlink and 5G wireless broadband for the first time.

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