Broadband value still over ditch

Kiwis are getting more broadband for their buck but our cousins across the ditch are still way ahead when it comes to value for money, a study has found.

Australian researcher Market Clarity studied fixed-line broadband plans from five New Zealand and six Australian internet service providers and found broadband value in both countries improved between 2010 and 2011.

New Zealand's more expensive, higher-data plans became more competitive with those in Australia, but the "value gap" in median prices has worsened.

From 2010-11 the median price in Australia went from A$1.12 to 37 cents a gigabyte, and in New Zealand from A$4.60 to $2.17 – meaning New Zealanders paid 4.1 times as much as Australians per GB in 2010 and 5.8 times as much per GB in 2011.

Market Clarity chief executive Shara Evans said that, until recently, New Zealanders had cause to complain.

"While plan prices were broadly in line with ... Australia, plan allowances have been much lower in New Zealand."

New Zealand's largest monthly data allowance in 2010 was 120GB, but Australia had been offering similar-sized plans since 2006.

That had begun to change this year, with the introduction of an unlimited plan in New Zealand to rival Australia's maximum data allowance of 1.1 terabytes.

Evans said that, in both countries, the greatest value in volume allowances was generally only available to users paying higher monthly subscriptions.

"Customers of `budget' plans in New Zealand still fare poorly compared to customers in Australia. For ... A$29.99 per month, an Australian customer is offered a monthly allowance of 20GB, while a New Zealand customer paying NZ$20 per month receives an allowance of just 1GB."