Charter is bragging a little, claiming their cable modem service is faster than their telco competitors. Their claim is backed by research conducted by comScore, a Reston, Va based research firm. comScore conducted a study comparing Charter cable modem service with DSL services offered by AT&T, Qwest, and Verizon in Charter markets. The study results “ranked Charter’s high-speed Internet offerings to be faster, with more reliable speeds, than the combined Internet offerings provided by national phone companies in those areas where Charter provides service.” The fine print of this research should be read to understand how comScore arrives at these conclusions.
As I read these types of announcements, I can’t help but think, “ok”, or maybe even, “so what.” It’s pretty well documented that cable modem speeds are faster than telco DSL offerings. So I guess I wonder where the real news here is. I guess it somewhat speaks to the level of competition and the accompanying stakes. When you publicly state the obvious, it reveals that something has you worried. Charter currently offers high-speed Internet tiers of speeds up to 5 Mbps, 10 Mbps, and 16 Mbps in select markets. No widespread DSL offering can match those speeds. At least not yet. AT&T, Verizon, and Qwest have either announced their intention to or are currently building networks that match or exceed these speeds (certainly not universally though). Verizon is taking an FTTH strategy, while Qwest and AT&T are doing FTTC/DSL hybrids. The day is coming when neither side will be able to easily make “faster speed” claims. They’ll then have to compete on other merits.