The report found during peak periods, DSL-based services delivered download speeds at 82 percent of advertised speeds.
A report from the Federal Communications Commission found the gap
between advertised and actually broadband speeds has improved
"substantially" compared with figures from 2009.
On average, the report, "Measuring Broadband America," found
during peak periods DSL-based services delivered download speeds that
were 82 percent of advertised speeds, cable-based services delivered 93
percent of advertised speeds, and fiber-to-the-home services delivered
114 percent of advertised speeds.
Peak period speeds decreased from 24-hour average speeds by 0.4
percent for fiber-to-the-home services, 5.5 percent for DSL-based
services, and 7.3 percent for cable-based service, according to the
report. Only three ISPs had speed decreases of 10 percent or greater
during the peak period (as compared to 24-hour average speeds).
In specific tests designed to mimic basic Web browsing-accessing a
series of Web pages, but not streaming video or using video chat sites
or applications-performance increased with higher speeds, but only up
to about 10 Mbps. For these high-speed tiers, consumers are unlikely to
experience much if any improvement in basic Web browsing from increased
speed, such as moving from a 10 Mbps broadband offering to a 25 Mbps
offering, the report noted.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski was joined by Consumers Union
Communications Policy Counsel Parul Desai, ITIF Research Fellow Richard
Bennett and Best Buy retail customer solutions manager Carlton Tucker
to announce the release of new consumer empowerment tools aimed at
helping Americans choose the best broadband service package for their
A recent FCC survey found that 80 percent of consumers did not know
what speed they purchased from their ISP (Internet service provider).
As a result, in conjunction with the release of "Measuring Broadband
America," the FCC released consumer resources to help Americans better
understand broadband speeds, assess their home needs, choose the right
package and continuously evaluate broadband performance.
"For consumers, choosing the right broadband service can be a
daunting task. Today, it gets a little bit easier. To help empower
consumers and ensure a healthy broadband market, in addition to this
report, the FCC is releasing a step-by-step online guide to choosing
home broadband service," Genachowski said in a statement. "The guide
walks consumers through the steps they should take when choosing the
service that's best for them. We also encourage current subscribers to
check their bills and ask their providers what service they have, and
make sure it matches with what they need."
The FCC began focused attention on this issue in the National
Broadband Plan. Since then, by continuing to shine a spotlight on
actual versus advertised speeds, the FCC is working to ensure
accountability, increasing transparency and enhancing competition in
the marketplace. If consumers make informed choices, companies will
likely invest in new products, services and business models to compete
more aggressively and offer greater value, the FCC said.
In addition, consumers can utilize the FCC's Broadband Speed Test,
which allows them to click a button on their desktop computers or
smartphones and get a general measure of how fast their wired or
wireless broadband service is running. American consumers have run more
than one million speed tests, according to the FCC. The efforts build
on continuing work by the FCC to advance its Consumer Empowerment
Agenda, which includes resources to help Americans protect themselves
against cramming, mystery fees, and bill shock along with greater
openness and transparency efforts to make more data easily available to
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.