FCC: US broadband providers deliver close to advertised speeds

Some cable, fiber and satellite providers deliver faster speeds than advertised, a new FCC report says

U.S. broadband providers deliver nearly the residential broadband speeds they advertise, with a handful of large providers exceeding the promised service, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission said in a new report.

On average, U.S. broadband providers surveyed in September delivered sustained speeds at 97 percent of advertised speeds, up slightly from the FCC's July broadband report, and up from 87 percent in the agency's August 2011 report.

The new report found that cable provider Comcast delivered 103 percent of promised download speeds during peak hours, Cablevision delivered 115 percent, Verizon's Fios service delivered 118 percent, and satellite provider ViaSat's Exede service delivered 137 percent. ViaSat offers 12Mbps download, and 3Mbps upload service for US$49.99 to $129.99 a month, depending on the data cap.

Providers not meeting their advertised download speeds during peak hours included Qwest at 82 percent and Windstream at 81 percent. Verizon's DSL service delivered 88 percent of advertised download speeds. The FCC report said AT&T's speeds were 87 percent of advertised speeds, but a company spokesman disputed that characterization.

AT&T advertises its broadband service in speed tiers, not a single speed. The FCC report said AT&T delivered a sustained download speed of 10.88Mbps for its 12Mbps service, but AT&T advertises that service as a 6.1-to-12Mbps service, he said.

"Our wired broadband Internet access customers should expect to see download speeds from the AT&T network to the network interface device at their home ... within the speed tier of their service plan," the spokesman said.

The FCC report found that DSL tended to deliver the worst performance compared to advertised speeds, with DSL giving customers 85 percent of advertised download speeds. Cable delivered 99 percent and fiber 115 percent.

The report also said U.S. residential broadband customers are migrating to faster speed tiers. Since the FCC's last broadband report, the average speed tier that customers subscribed to increased from 14.3Mbps to 15.6Mbps. Nearly half of broadband customers who subscribed to speeds of less than 1Mbps six months ago have adopted higher speeds, and nearly a quarter who subscribed to speeds between 1Mbps and 3Mbps have upgraded, the FCC said.

"Faster broadband has brought untold benefits to millions of Americans -- from distance learning to distance healthcare," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement. "This is good news for consumers and the economy, but we can't be satisfied. To unleash innovation and realize broadband's full potential, we must continue to see increases in broadband speed and capacity."

The FCC also noted significant improvements to satellite broadband service quality. Satellite technology has the highest overall latency, but the test results indicated that during peak periods, 90 percent of satellite consumers received 140 percent or better of the advertised speed of 12Mbps from ViaSat.

Earlier this week, tech-focused think tank the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) released a report saying the average broadband speed in the U.S. is 29.6Mbps, including both commercial and residential services. Several critics questioned the assertion by the ITIF that U.S. broadband services were competitive with those in other developed nations.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentbroadbandtelecommunicationat&tJulius GenachowskicomcastQwestU.S. Federal Communications CommissionVerizon CommunicationsWindstreamInformation Technology and Innovation FoundationViaSatCablevision

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?