Internet Providers Continue To Maintain Fast, Reliable Broadband Speeds
February 15, 2013

Internet Providers Continue To Maintain Fast, Reliable Broadband Speeds

Peter Suciu for — Your Universe Online

Whilst many commercials feature the all too subtle disclaimer, “actual results may vary,” when it comes to advertised broadband speeds consumers are getting what was promised and sometimes more. Moreover, as consumers migrate to faster speeds, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are continuing to deliver the speeds they advertise.

According to the Federal Communications Commission´s (FCC) newly published “Measuring Broadband America” report, IPS's have delivered 97 percent of advertised download speeds during peak hours - 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. local time. This is reportedly about the same result in the previous report from July 2012, but far better than the agency´s findings for download speeds in its initial August 2011 report, which found that ISPs delivered about 87 percent of the advertised speeds.

The news for uploads is even better, with the report finding that ISPs delivered 108 percent of advertised upload speeds, a slight increase from the July 2012 report.

Consumers have also been seeking ever faster speeds the report found. Across all tiers of service it was reported that 10 percent of consumers had subscribed to higher-tier subscriptions that provided faster broadband speeds than those consumers had since the previous study.

The largest increases were found in the 0-1 Megabits per second (Mbps) category, where 46 percent of users opted to upgrade; 21 percent upgraded to 1-3 Mbps; 11 percent to 3-7 Mbps; and 27 percent to 7-10 Mbps. The report, for the first time, also measured speeds up to 75 Mbps. With that said, the average subscribed speed in the United States for broadband users is now 15.6 Mbps, a nearly 20 percent increase in speed since the July 2012 study.

A variety of home broadband delivery technologies were studied and these included cable, DSL, fiber optic and satellite. On average it was satellite that provided the best speeds, delivering on average 137 percent of advertised speed during prime time. However, on a down note, it was also the service to be most affected by latency issues.

By contrast, fiber optic actually saw a decline in speeds, slipping from 117 percent of advertised speed in the July 2012 report to 115 percent in this latest report; cable remain unchanged at 99 percent; DSL saw a slight uptick from 84 to 85 percent.

All this was cited as good news by the FCC.

“Faster broadband has brought untold benefits to millions of Americans — from distance learning to distance healthcare,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement to USA Today. “This is good news for consumers and the economy, but we can't be satisfied. To unleash innovation and realize broadband's full potential, we must continue to see increases in broadband speed and capacity.”

Verizon's newest FiOS Quantum service high-end tiers were included for the first time in the FCC study. These included the speed tiers of 50/24 Mbps and 75/35 Mbps.

“As the FCC report showed, every FiOS Internet speed tier delivered more than 100 percent of its advertised and sustained download performance during peak Internet usage periods, differentiating FiOS Internet from most cable company competitors,” said John Wimsatt, senior vice president of product development for Verizon´s consumer and mass market business unit. “FiOS Quantum speeds of 50 Mbps or higher will increasingly become what most of our customers use because it provides capacity a step above competing services, as households add and use more Internet-connected tablets, laptops, video game consoles, smart TVs, Blu-ray players, streaming video services and smartphones.”

The initial Measuring Broadband America Report from August 2011 was the first such study to present a broad-scale look of actual home broadband performance in the United States. That study examined service offerings from 13 of the largest wireline broadband providers. The February 2013 report contains the most recent results from the FCC´s Measuring Broadband America program, and was based on test measurements taken in August of last year.

The FCC has noted that its next testing period for the broadband program is scheduled for September 2013, and that from this point it plans to repeat testing each September.