* FCC to unveil results of national fixed broadband study
* Most ISPs within 80 percent of advertised speeds
By Jasmin Melvin
WASHINGTON, Aug 2 Broadband speeds are now
significantly closer to what Internet service providers
advertise than they were in 2009, a study to be released by
U.S. communications regulators on Tuesday found.
Cable, DSL and fiber-to-the-home services were examined at
13 top U.S. broadband providers, representing about 86 percent
of all U.S. fixed broadband connections.
Actual download speeds provided by the majority of U.S.
broadband providers were within 80 percent or better of
companies' advertised speeds even during peak usage hours,
according to a draft copy of the report.
The findings are considerably improved from data collected
in 2009 for a study on U.S. broadband performance that showed
actual download speeds were more often around 50 percent of the
Internet service provider's (ISP) advertised speed, the Federal
Communications Commission said.
During peak consumer usage hours when networks are most
busy and experience the greatest degradation in speeds, actual
download speeds varied from 114 percent of advertised speed to
a low of 54 percent of advertised speed among the different
ISPs, the draft report said.
The 13 participating ISPs in the new study included Verizon
Communications (VZ.N), which had its fiber and DSL services
tested separately, AT&T (T.N), Comcast (CMCSA.O), Time Warner
TWC.N, Cox Communications, Cablevision CVC.N, Frontier
FTR.N, CenturyLink (CTL.N), Charter (CHTR.O), Insight
Communications Co, Mediacom Communications, Qwest
Communications and Windstream (WIN.O).
Average download speeds as a percentage of those advertised
were highest for Verizon's fiber service and lowest for
Fiber-to-home services achieved the best speeds compared
with advertised speeds during the peak hours between 7 p.m. and
11 p.m. on weeknights when residential networks tend to be most
congested. They met download speeds, on average, of 114 percent
of advertised speeds. Cable services met 93 percent of
advertised speeds during peak hours, while DSL met 82 percent,
the draft copy of the report said.
CONSUMER EMPOWERMENT AGENDA
The study -- a recommendation of the FCC's National
Broadband Plan -- is the first to provide measurements of
residential wireline broadband performance on a national
The complete findings of the report, its raw data and an
FCC-prepared guide for consumers will be made available online,
furthering the agency's consumer empowerment agenda by helping
consumers decide which Internet speed, service and provider
best meets their needs, the FCC said.
"We've been working to arm consumers with information to
help them make smart choices about the broadband service that's
right for them. Informed consumers should lead to a healthier
and more competitive broadband market," said Zachary Katz,
chief counsel and senior legal adviser to FCC Chairman Julius
Academic researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology and Georgia Tech as well as technology vendors and
consumer groups also worked on the study. Some 6,800 households
were selected for testing with 13 different tests conducted
multiple times a day over several months in each home to assess
Speed and performance were measured as broadband was
delivered to the home, the FCC said, to eliminate the effects
of equipment, home networks and other factors on test results.
(Reporting by Jasmin Melvin, editing by Dave Zimmerman)