Cable companies delivered the fastest broadband speeds in the U.S. in 2011, Multichannel News is reporting. The media outlet based its claims on Ookla’s Net Index service, which has measured the performance of hundreds of millions of individual broadband users through an on-line test.

According to the Multichannel News/ Ookla data, Comcast and Charter tied for highest average download speed, with average download speeds of 17.19 Mb/s. Following close behind them were Cablevision (16.4 Mb/s), Cox (15.76 Mb/s) Time Warner Cable (14.41 Mb/s) and Insight (14.22 Mb/s).

Those findings are quite similar to broadband service provider rankings generated by PC Magazine several months ago which also were based on Ookla’s on-line measurement tools. That test generated slightly higher average speeds, with Cox, Comcast and Charter all scoring average download speeds of 18 Mb/s or higher. Those tests were conducted between May and July of 2011, rather than for the full year.

Verizon had the highest average download speeds of all the major telcos for 2011, according to Multichannel News. Verizon’s average download speed was 12.94 Mb/s, followed by Qwest, now CenturyLink (6.34 Mb/s) and AT&T (4.4 Mb/s). The reporter attributed the telcos’ lower speeds to their heavy reliance on DSL technology, also noting that Verizon’s comparatively higher speeds were the result of the company’s high-speed FiOS service, which is available throughout part of Verizon’s service territory.

The Multichannel News/ Ookla data only looked at the nation’s largest cable and telephone companies—and considering that many smaller telcos and municipals have deployed fiber-to-the-home throughout large portions of their territories, those broadband carriers likely would have ranked considerably higher than the large telcos had they been included.

As of late 2010, it was Telecompetitor’s understanding that Ookla intended to update its broadband service provider data daily and to make it available at no charge on the website.

But today Ookla’s only free information seems to be broadband speed rankings by state, country and selected world cities. It now appears that interested parties must pay Ookla an additional fee to obtain broadband performance data by service provider.

The service providers that came in highest on the Multichannel/Ookla list for 2011 are quite similar to those that came in highest in a recent FCC report that compared service providers’ actual and advertised speeds.

Perhaps that’s not surprising, considering that companies offering comparatively high speeds would be less motivated than slower competitors to inflate their speed claims.

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One thought on “Report: Cable Companies Deliver Fastest Broadband

  1. I really hate these kind of articles. A statement like, cable is faster than DSL is not entirely true. It may provide higher badnwidth on average, however it alomost always provides worse latency than DSL. I use VoIP hardphones over VPN at my house and they did not function on Comcast Cable, which provided twice the bandwidth of CenturyLink DSL. However, the CenturyLink DSL has 1/10 the latency and the VoIP calls work flawlessly. I have witnessed this with Femptocell calls on cell phones as well.

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