FCC Says Internet Speeds Three Times Faster than in 2011
How fast is broadband in America, really? And is it getting faster? If you listen to telecom providers, the answer is it's fast and it's getting even speedier. But is that the reality?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) set out to answer just that question in its latest Measuring Broadband America report, a study of the performance of consumer fixed broadband Internet access from coast to coast. The FCC has compiled this report for the past five years to help consumers make better decisions about where to spend their Internet access dollars.
“Today’s report confirms that advances in network technology are yielding significant improvements in broadband speeds and quality,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, in a statement. “Faster, better broadband will unleash new innovations and new services to improve the lives of the American people. This comprehensive assessment of broadband performance helps to keep consumers informed and hold ISPs accountable.”
Delivering on the Promise
Specifically, the 2015 Measuring Broadband America report shows that speed offerings to the typical consumer are rising rapidly. What’s more, broadband service providers are still delivering on the need for speed -- sometimes even surpassing advertised promises.
That’s the good news. The bad news is results are not consistent across technologies. In fact, according to the FCC there’s a growing disparity in advertised download speeds between various DSL-based broadband services. When it comes to cable- and fiber-based broadband services, there are even greater disparities between what is promised and what is actually delivered.
There are four key highlights worth nothing in this annual report:
1. Average Speeds Are Up
According to the FCC’s stats, maximum advertised speeds increased from 37.2 Mbps in September 2013 to 72 Mbps in September 2014 when averaged across all ISPs that participated in the survey -- an increase of 94 percent.
The development of technologies like DOCSIS 3 drove up the maximum advertised download speeds ISPs offer using cable systems from 12 Mbps-20 Mbps in March 2011 to 50 Mbps-105 Mbps in September 2014.
DSL is the laggard in keeping up with speed growth. Popular maximum DSL speed offers have remained relatively flat since 2011, despite an increase in the average DSL customer speeds. Most DSL providers offer maximum download rates of 12 Mbps or less.
2. Ads Are Realistic
All ISPs using cable, fiber or satellite technologies advertise speeds for services that on average are close to or below the actual speeds experienced by their subscribers, according to the FCC report. Some DSL providers, however, are still promising faster speeds than what customers actually experience.
3. Upgrading Trend Continues
Internet providers have reason to cheer about incremental revenue increases. The FCC report suggests consumers with access to fixed broadband tend to move up to higher service tiers as time passes.
4. Latency Varies
The time it takes for a data packet to travel from one point to another in a network, known as latency, is generally low for most consumers. On the other hand, most consumers have low packet loss, which ultimately means higher quality video chat, video streaming and multiplayer games.
Good News, Bad News
We caught up with Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, to get his thoughts on the report. He told us the good news is that things are getting better. The bad news is that the technology capital of the world still lags significantly in actual technology deployment.
“This is largely because the government[s], in areas that lead the U.S., [are aggressive partners] in assuring their citizens have the best technology, recognizing it makes their countries more competitive,” Enderle said. “The U.S. tends to focus more on poorly thought through regulation and has become more of an impediment to advancement as a result.”
Posted: 2016-01-11 @ 9:46am PT
The technology is real amazing and incredible.