ISPs are delivering faster broadband speeds and delivering
more fully on their promises of advertised speeds, and subscribers are
benefitting from both.
That is the upbeat takeaway from highlights of the FCC's
second annual residential wireline broadband advertised/actual speed survey,
done in cooperation with the nation's largest Internet service providers, which
notably includes the major cable operators. The report's bottom line is that
ISP's have delivered significant improvements in only a year in key areas,
including more accurate promises of performance.
According to a source familiar with the FCC's planned
unveiling of the study at a public meeting Thursday, as of April 2012,
participating ISPs were delivering 96% of advertised download speeds during
peak periods, up from 87% in March 2011. The source did not have a breakout for
the cable ISPs, but last
year's study found that they were already delivering 93% of advertised
speeds at peak periods.
The 2012 study found that improvements in delivering on
those ISP-advertised speeds were due to improvements in network performance
rather than "adjustment to the speed of tiers offered."
The study found that ISPs did not just improve their ability
to deliver on what they advertised, but improved the actual bottom-line speeds
customers were getting.
According to the study, the average subscribed tier in the
U.S. for participating ISPs in March 2011 was 11.1 megabits per second. In
April 2012, that number was 14.3 megabits per second, an almost 23% increase in
only a year.
Because ISPs are doing a better job of meeting or beating
advertised speeds, says the FCC report, consumer's actual speeds are up by
almost 38%. The average actual speed in March of 2011 was 10.6 Mbps. In April
2012, that figure was 14.6 Mbps speeds are increasing at a faster rate.
Faster speeds are resulting in greater overall consumption.
Seven of the participating ISPs are offering speeds of 50 Mbps or greater, and
four are offering at least 100 Mbps.
Next steps for the FCC, says the study, to keep that ball
rolling: continue to encourage boosts in speed and capacity, expand to include
new technology, and continue dialog with stakeholders.