The Commission runs a programme to measure the broadband performance of more than 3,000 New Zealand households.
The aim of the monitoring programme is to provide consumers with independent information on broadband performance across different providers, plans and technologies, to help them choose the best broadband for their household. Shining a light on actual broadband performance will also encourage telecommunications providers to compete on performance and not just price.
The programme is delivered by SamKnows, a world leader in internet performance measurement, covering almost half of the world’s internet population. More information about SamKnows can be found at www.samknows.com.
To make sure we get an accurate picture of how New Zealand’s broadband is performing, we need volunteers from all parts of the country, of all ages, and on all types of broadband technologies, plans and providers to take part.
You will not be paid to participate in the programme, and it will not cost you anything to participate.
If you are selected you will be provided with a ‘Whitebox’ (similar to a modem) to plug in at home. The Whitebox performs automated tests on your home internet performance at different times of the day. It will not record any personal information or browsing history, and does not interfere with your internet service. Some of your broadband data will be used to conduct testing (see below). However, this is expected to have little to no impact on testing volunteers' broadband performance.
Volunteers will also have access to their own personal internet performance information, which may help diagnose problems and improve home broadband performance.
If you are selected SamKnows will contact you directly.
The faster your broadband connection the more data the testing will use. We have set out the likely data usage in the table below.
If you have an unlimited plan, the extra data used will not affect your broadband performance.
For volunteers on ADSL, your connection will not be fast enough to use much data, so the testing should use less than 10% of your monthly cap.
If you have a data capped plan for VDSL, Fibre or Cable, you will probably not be selected for the programme, as we do not want you to get charged for going over your data cap.
If you have a Fixed Wireless (4G modem) connection with a data cap, you have the option of opting for the lightweight testing programme, which will test less frequently to keep the data usage down. Both the standard and lightweight testing usage is shown in the table below, so you can opt for the one you feel most comfortable with.
No matter what broadband plan, data cap or technology, the testing will not run when you are using the internet so it will not affect your broadband performance.
Plan or technology
Typical download and upload speeds
Typical test data usage per month (GB)
6-15 download, 1 upload
5 – 10GB
25-60 download, 5 upload
15 – 35GB
90-100 download, 15-20 upload
50 – 60GB
Fibre 'very fast'
700-900 download, 300-400 upload
450 – 600GB
700-900 download, 70-90 upload
350 – 450GB
Fixed wireless (4G modems)
20-60 download, 5-10 upload
15 – 35GB (NZ standard)
6 – 20GB (NZ lightweight)
We have received a number of questions about our broadband monitoring programme following the SamKnows industry workshop in June 2018. We have aimed to address these with a technical FAQs document.
This is a living document and will be updated if and when further questions arise.