Delivering what you advertise (almost)

05 Aug 2011

An FCC study of broadband speeds in the US found that ISPs are delivering on average 80% of the advertised download speed. At peak times the study showed that at some ISPs actual download speeds were just 54% of the advertised rate.

I suppose broadband subscribers should be impressed that the 13 top US ISPs are now "providing service close to what they're advertising," as the FCC chairman referred to the improved performance.

But that's only because the service was so bad just two years ago, when cable, fiber and DSL service providers managed to deliver on average only 50% of the headline speeds.

Not everyone is impressed. In a Reutersreport, Derek Turner, research director for the public interest group Free Press, said: "This study indicates Comcast, Cox and Verizon FiOS largely perform well, but other companies like Cablevision, AT&T, MediaCom and Frontier all fail to deliver their customers the quality of service promised."

While it's a step in the right direction, there is obviously room for improvement -- particularly for those offering certain technologies (namely DSL). FTTH providers somehow managed to over-deliver on their promised speed.

The FTTH Council took the occasion to reminding everyone of "the superiority of fiber-to-the-home networks" to other technologies. According to the Measuring Broadband America study, FTTH services delivered 114% of advertised download speeds, compared to 93% for cable and 82% for DSL.

Perhaps it's time for the fiber players to raise their headline rates and stop being so modest -- you're making the others look bad!

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