August 2, 2011

US Broadband Speeds Improving: FCC

A new study has found that broadband speeds in the U.S. are now significantly closer to what Internet service providers advertise than they were in 2009.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said cable, DSL and fiber-to-the-home services were examined at 13 top broadband providers in the U.S.

The report said actual download speeds provided by the majority of U.S. broadband providers were within 80 percent or better of companies' advertised speeds even during peak usage hours.

The FCC said the findings are an improvement compared to data collected in 2009 that showed actual download speeds were more often around 50 percent of the Internet service provider's (ISP) advertised speed.

According to the report, actual download speeds during peak hours varied from 114 percent of advertised speed to a low of 54 percent of advertised speed among the different ISPs.

The communications regulator's test included AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon Communications, Cox Communications, Cablevision, Frontier, CenturyLink, Charter, Insight Communications Co., Mediacom Communications, Qwest Communications and Windstream.

Verizon's fiber-to-home service achieved the best speeds compared with advertised speeds during the peak hours. 

The service met download speeds on an average of 114 percent of advertised speeds. 

The report said cable services met 93 percent of advertised speeds during peak hours, while DSL met 82 percent.

The study is the first to provide measurements of residential wireless broadband performance on a national level.

The report said its raw data and an FCC-prepared guide for consumers will be made available online.

"We've been working to arm consumers with information to help them make smart choices about the broadband service that's right for them. Informed consumers should lead to a healthier and more competitive broadband market," Zachary Katz, chief counsel and senior legal adviser to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, said in a statement.

About 6,800 households were selected for testing with 13 different tests conducted multiple times a day for several months.

The FCC said speed and performance were measured as broadband was delivered to the home in order to help eliminate the effects of equipment, home networks and other factors on test results.


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