ISP Advertised Speeds And Performance Are Getting Better
July 19, 2012

ISP Advertised Speeds And Performance Are Getting Better

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

When your Internet Service Provider (or ISP) advertises speeds of “up to 20 MBps,” it´s rare that you´ll ever actually hit that number. The pesky disclaimer of “up to” is where they get you, as technically anything below those advertised 20MBs is “up to” 20. Safe to say, these ISPs are run by people who preferred limbo over leap frog in grade school.

If the FCC is to be believed, however, this trend of skating just beneath already low expectations could be turning around.

Released today, the new FCC report reveals that ISPs delivered “up to” 96% of their advertised speeds during peak hours, or from 7 pm to 11 pm. Last year, these same ISPs were delivering 87% of their advertised speeds during the same time frame. Any progress is good progress, after all. Interestingly, these ISPs seem to have no problem allowing users to upload content to the web, as they more than exceeded their advertised upload speeds. According to the report, ISPs delivered 107% of their upload speeds, up from 103% last year.

The FCC report also shows that all manner of broadband customers are receiving faster speeds which more closely resemble the advertised speeds. Fiber delivered the fastest, most accurate results, delivering a whopping 117% of advertised speeds to its users. Last year, fiber delivered a similarly impressive 114% of advertised speed in prime time. Cable broadband users saw the greatest amount of improvement, as their ISPs increased speeds to 99% of their advertised speeds. Last year, cable delivered 93% of its advertised speeds.

DSL remains the slowest form of broadband connectivity, giving users 84% of advertised speeds, a modest increase of 2% over last year´s results.

Specifically, Verizon and Cablevision provided the fastest connections, offering their customers 120% of the download speeds they advertised. Cablevision, by the way, showed the greatest signs of improvement over last year. According to the FCC report, Cablevision only offered their users 54% of advertised speeds in 2011.

The award of slowest ISP goes to Frontier Communications, meeting less than 80% of the speeds they advertise to their poor, Internet-hungry customers.

Customers likely took notice of these faster, more reliable connections, as the FCC reports that more customers were choosing the faster and, therefore, more expensive connections. The average American broadband consumer increased their speed by 14.3MBps, up 30% from last year.

According to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski these results are “good news for consumers and the economy, but we need to keep pushing for faster broadband speeds and greater capacity.”

"Bandwidth abundance is essential to driving innovation and unleashing the benefits of broadband, including increased education, health care and job-creation opportunities."

It´s important to note that this survey didn´t include every one of America´s ISPs. They focused instead on the largest, studying only the 13 ISPs responsible for covering 80% of the US with broadband goodness.

So, go forth, broadband users, and bask in the glory of nearly every one of your advertised megabits. And if you´re feeling froggy, go ahead and upgrade your speed a bit. Your ISP has been hard at work.