speed test

Small doesn’t equate to slow, at least when it comes to fixed ISPs in the midwest, south and west. Ookla found that in some states in these regions, smaller ISPs had faster average speeds than the six dominant national brands during the third quarter of this year.

“Small” is not an unqualified term, however: To be included in Ookla’s rankings, the ISP “must qualify for at least 3% of the total test samples in the market for the entire period.”

“Our analysis shows smaller ISPs are a great option in some states; however, the largest ISPs were either fastest or tied for fastest median download speed in 32 out of 51 states (including D.C.),” wrote content specialist Josh Fomon in the report. Smaller ISPs have the edge in connecting smaller, often more rural communities that aren’t as profitable for the big six ISPs.

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Small ISPs were not tops in any northeastern states, though Burlington Telecom in Vermont came close.

Here are the states where a small ISP had the fastest speeds.

Midwest: Missouri (Google Fiber, 211.11 Mbps); Kansas (Google Fiber, 205.40 Mbps); Nebraska (Allo, 202.84 Mbps); Iowa (MetroNet, 191.89 Mbps); Minnesota (USI, 169.78 Mbps); Indiana (MetroNet,163.96 Mbps); Illinois (RCN, 155.78 Mbps); North Dakota (Sparklight, 115.41 Mbps) and South Dakota (Midco, 104.65 Mbps).

ookla speedtest map of U.S.
Source: Ookla SpeedTest

South: Alabama (Google Fiber, 234.26 Mbps); North Carolina (Google Fiber, 220.44 Mbps); Tennessee (EPB, 201.83 Mbps); Kentucky (MetroNet, 197.65 Mbps); Arkansas (OzarksGo, 177.72 Mbps); South Carolina (Horry Telephone Cooperator/HTC, 158.33 Mbps) and Mississippi (C Spire, 155.83 Mbps).

West: Utah (Google Fiber, 204.95 Mbps); New Mexico (Sparklight, 143.55 Mbps) and GCI (138.99 Mbps).

A useful comparison for these download speeds is Ookla’s third-quarter ISP speed report. It found that Verizon had a speed score of 178.38 Mbps nationally. That speed is considerably slower than some of the average speeds that the smaller ISPs achieved.

Joan Engebretson contributed to this report.

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