After talking numerous times last year about how service providers don’t deliver advertised broadband speeds, the FCC today reversed that position, issuing new data which shows that, by and large, service providers are delivering advertised speeds—and a few providers consistently exceed advertised speeds, even at peak times.
Verizon’s FiOS sustained peak hour download speeds were more than 110% of the company’s advertised speeds for that service and Comcast’s download speeds at peak hours were just over 100% of what that company advertises, according to the new research, titled “Measuring Broadband America.”
When sustained peak time upload speeds were measured, four cable companies, three DSL services and FiOS measured speeds that consistently exceeded what the companies advertised. The four cable companies were Cablevision, Charter, Comcast and Cox. The three DSL providers were CenturyLink, Frontier, and Verizon. Cox had the best upload performance, which was measured at more than 120% of its advertised speeds.
During peak hours, DSL-based services on average delivered download speeds that were 82% of advertised speeds, while cable companies delivered 93% of advertised speeds and fiber-to-the-home services delivered 114% of advertised speeds. Average upload speeds during peak hours were 95% for DSL, 108% for cable and 112% for FTTH.
All service providers had upload speeds at least 85% of their advertised rate during peak times and all but one had peak time download speeds at least 75% of their advertised rates. The exception was Cablevision, which had a peak time download speed that was only 54% of its advertised speed.
The cable industry was quick to tout its otherwise strong performance. In a blog post, National Cable & Telecommunications Association Executive Vice President James Assey said the new report “confirms that cable operators are delivering world-class services to their customers.”
Other service providers participating in the test not mentioned previously in this story were AT&T, Frontier, Insight, Mediacom, Qwest, Time Warner and Windstream. The 13 participating carriers represent about 86% of U.S. broadband connections, according to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who announced today’s findings at a press conference in a D.C.-area Best Buy outlet.
“It’s informed consumers that make the market work,” said Genachowski at the event.
“The more consumers know about broadband speeds and the more they know about the speeds they receive, the more able they are to let providers know what they really want. Information for consumers enhances competition among providers of broadband Internet access services, and increases the likelihood that consumers will be better served and receive greater value.”
Genachowski also took the opportunity to tout new consumer education resources developed by the FCC. According to a fact sheet released from the FCC, the goal of the new consumer resources is to “help Americans understand broadband speeds, assess their home needs, choose the right package and continuously evaluate broadband performance.”
Carriers that did not participate in the testing could now have a strong motivation to do so, not only because of the strong results, but also because participation can help a service provider meet consumer disclosure requirements outlined recently by the FCC in support of the commission’s Net Neutrality initiatives.