MSOs Make Good On Speed Claims

Report Finds Ops Delivering on 99% Advertised Download Speeds in Peak Periods

Cable operators by and large are keeping their broadband promises — while DSL is still under-delivering.

That’s one of the conclusions of the Federal Communication Commission’s third Measuring Broadband America report, released last Friday.

Cable services on average delivered 99% of advertised download speeds during peak periods, as measured during a five-month period ending September 2012; that was the same as on the FCC’s July 2012 broadband report. By contrast, digital-subscriber-line providers came in at 85% (up from 84% in the previous report). Overall, Internet-service providers on average delivered 97% of marketed speeds.

The FCC also found consumers are continuing to migrate to higher- speed tiers, and for the first time, the study measured download speeds of 75 Megabits per second. Among the 14 ISPs surveyed, the commission found the average subscribed speed tier is now 15.6 Mbps, representing an average annualized speed increase of about 20%.

Some of the results “suggest that while consumers receive an immediate benefit from higher speeds, improvements in the overall Internet ecosystem may be necessary to fully realize the benefits of very high speeds,” the FCC said in the report, which covered more than 80% of the residential market.

For the first time, the study included satellite broadband, with results collected from ViaSat. With the new generation of higher-performance satellites, the FCC said, it is now possible to include comparisons between satellite and wireline technologies.

As with the two prior reports, the FCC enlisted U.K.-based analytics vendor SamKnows to administer the study. The most recent report measured speeds for 6,635 volunteers.

The FCC said it plans to shift to annual broadband speed reports based on tests conducted each September.