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The Fastest ISPs In the US 168

Posted by samzenpus
from the greased-lightning dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "For a second year in a row PCMag partnered with Speedtest to find out the fastest ISPs in the U.S. The results were a product of 110,000 tests ran between January 1, 2012 and September 19, 2012. Collecting data for both download and upload speeds for each test, Speednet was able to calculate an index score for a better one-to-one comparison, where downloads counted for 80 percent and uploads 20 percent. Moreover, rather than testing the upload and download speed of a single file, the tests used multiple broadband threads to measure the total capacity of the 'pipe.' While the results at the nationwide level were fairly obvious with Verizon FiOS crushing its opposition, the results at regional level were a lot more interesting and competitive."
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The Fastest ISPs In the US

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  • by MilwaukeeMadAss (2521372) on Monday October 01, 2012 @03:20PM (#41516869) Homepage
    I at least think my ISP sends their bills the fastest. Not sure about the "pipe" speed though.
    • by abhi2012 (2739367)
      Mine deducts the amount from my card the fastest.....
    • by Idbar (1034346)
      I concur, also retransmissions seem to be pretty efficient, if you failed to "acknowledge" the first one!
    • I at least think my ISP sends their bills the fastest. Not sure about the "pipe" speed though.

      Mine sends promotions for lower-level packages than the one I'm already using, and paying out the ass for, with a longer "contract period" faster.

  • In addition Midcontinent has prices that aren't bad. Good bandwidth at a good price in a city with a population under 500. I would have never believed it before moving here.

  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Monday October 01, 2012 @03:27PM (#41516971) Homepage Journal

    As I have said repeatedly on here, in my area I have 2 choices: Comcast or Verizon. To get the lowest level of naked broadband service, 15/5, I would have to pay $75/month. From there, it's only how much they can squeeze out of you for minor increments in speed.

    Despite this, the U.S. consistently ranks in the middle to the bottom in terms of speed, but always at the top in price.

    So for all the talk about broadband penetration, who has what speed, etc, until real competition is injected into the fray or the law about one provider allowing another to use their lines at reasonable rates is enforced, surveys like this are relatively meaningless. If the cost of getting this supposed speed is too high, why bother?

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday October 01, 2012 @04:21PM (#41517707)

      If the cost of getting this supposed speed is too high, why bother?

      Same reason we use median income as a measure of economic prosperity. Same reason many states only count unemployment based on the number of people requesting benefits. It makes the situation look less desperate than it is. Truthfully, the average case, the average person, is doing quite poorly in all areas right now.

      Over a third of our bridges are structurally deficient and in need of repair. Our interstate roadways are in terrible shape -- you can go to any major city and find areas "coned off" but with no crews or equipment staged at the site. Repairs are taking longer, and running over budget more often. Our telecommunications are badly oversubscribed -- carriers blame the iPhone for sucking up bandwidth, but in all the other G20 countries, the iPhone isn't even competitive with local offerings. You can go to London and see people streaming the BBC on their morning commute, watching TV on their phones. Digital TV has been available in South Korea on their mobile devices since the turn of the century, whereas we only recently switched off our analog systems, and it was a botched job as well -- converters were in short supply, overpriced, and the FCC was ignoring the problems of the conversion and instead focusing on auctioning off the freed up spectrum, for which the general public has seen no benefit from. There are sewers and water mains in New York that date back to the pre-civil war era which haven't seen any maintenance since. Food prices are rising, but consumers here are being duped because manufacturers are subtly shrinking container sizes, or adding more packaging (empty space), to maintain the illusion that you're still buying the same amount for the same price. Meat and vegetable prices have risen so much that people on public assistance can't afford it; The elderly and marginally employed, our most vulnerable citizens, have been thrown under a bus. The ever-widening waist line has become the new symbol of America, and while many outsiders consider this a sign of decadence, in fact it is a sign of poor nutrition -- the cheapest food is processed. Grains, starches, etc., are all cheap, high calorie foods. And while a significant portion of anyone's diet should include them, for the poor, it's their only source of food -- and it's killing us slowly. While every other G20 country has reported either flat or falling mortality rates, ours has sharply risen. The number one cause of death now amongst those most able to work: age 25-40, is suicide.

      America is dying, literally and figuratively. And we're lying to ourselves about this simple, naked truth. We're window dressing for a dinner theatre of one... that's why we use misleading statistics and facts. In truth, if you're an average american reading this, more likely than not you're living paycheck to paycheck, trying to do everything you can to get back what you had. You're not fighting for freedom from tyranny, terrorism, or oppression: You're fighting for the right to exist.

      • by Type44Q (1233630)

        Grains, starches, etc., are all cheap, high calorie foods. And while a significant portion of anyone's diet should include them

        Not everything that's repeated over and over is in fact true. When I quit eating grains completely, I felt better than ever. Furthermore, on those rare occasions when I "fall off the wagon" and eat some, I feel like complete shit for days afterward.

        Which actually makes perfect fucking sense, considering anthropologists universally agree that we didn't even begin to consume the shit until the agricultural revolution, which was virtually yesterday in biological terms.

        Google up 'Paleo Diet' - I tried a hig

        • That's because "convential wisdom" (see peer-reviewed science) generally knows of only one disease that causes problems with cereals (gluten specifically) and that is celiac disease. Explain why we produce amylase in our saliva to break down starch if we are supposedly incompatible with it?

          I'm not debating whether you feel better but there could be other reasons for that change. Just because YOU think you feel better when you do something means absolutely nothing, especially about humans and grains and
    • by fermion (181285)
      In my urban area I have one choice. High density, reasonable income levels, close to super high density areas. It is fast enough, not that expensive, but really all these speed charts are kind of useless unless you are going to move to an area where they are available. There is no competitive force.

      In any case, for what I do speed does not seem to be a problem. I have run on ATT and Suddenlink, and it does not seem much slower than Comcast. It is not like I am downloading video for real time viewing,

    • by fm6 (162816)

      Pretty much agree with you. Next time, just say that that your two choices are your cable company and your legacy phone company. That's true pretty much everywhere.

    • by antdude (79039)

      Ouch, that's expensive. I can't believe they make you pay that much and no slower speeds. My areas have no cheap competitions. It's cable. No DSL, FIOS, etc. Well, there are satellites, dial-up, etc. but why?

  • i'm on the time warner a la carte $50 10mbps plan. next year FIOS is coming to my building but i will most likely stay with time warner.

    reason is that i get almost 100 channels free through the same cable so i can watch sports and my wife can watch american idol without the need for an antenna

    my inlaws have FIOS in their neighborhood but they still have cable because FIOS doesn't carry their international channels. same for a lot of people. that's what the geeks can't figure out when these studies are done

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'd really like it if they could make this distinction. I understand that for the typical user, it doesn't matter much, but it feels really deceptive. I pay for a 3Mb/sec connection, I typically get a hair over 2 in burst speed and then about 1 for any download that takes more than 3-5 seconds.

    • by radish (98371)

      That's really Fios' big advantage. I pay for 35/35, in reality I get 42/35 very consistently (hours at a time).

  • by rbrausse (1319883) on Monday October 01, 2012 @03:28PM (#41517005)

    some cable ISPs here are known for unthrottling connections as soon as the URL includes something like /speedtest/ - e.g. NetCologne [twitter.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2012 @03:29PM (#41517021)

    FIRST POST, CHECK It BItCHES

  • A claim like "Fastest internet connection" is amazingly dubious based on the data they are presenting. What they mean more specifically is "fastest average customer". While some providers may offer fast services at higher prices, the only thing we know for sure from this is how many people are in the upper/lower tiers on a given provider. Sure, coming up with an actual "Fastest provider" number is going to be pretty darn hard to do (you basically need a way to reliably throw away data from anyone not in

  • You mean to say the Slowskys actually had a fast internet connection... This might lead to Mr Slowsky in a roadside ditch.
  • I have charter at the 30/3 increment. it costs just under $50/month. If I wasn't bundled for another 14 months I think I could get by with a slower speed, as long as I can stream some Netflix, and play a bit of CoD, or Battlefield 3 I would be happy. 10MB would probably be enough for me.
    • by Nadaka (224565)

      Ping is the lord of gaming, few games need more than a stable several hundred kbps to work. The better DSL services with ping in the 20ms to 30ms range and a steady 1 meg download rate makes a far better gaming platform than many cable providers who struggle to provide pings under 75ms even though they offer 5+ meg download rates.

      You mostly need the high bandwidth downloading for streaming and modern bloated html5 webpages that often come in at over a meg in size.

      • by gatfirls (1315141)
        I assume it has gotten better over the years but historically DSL has been great for latency but really bad at reliability and packet loss. Of course this varies wildly by location but from doing residential and business voip I can say that if you have older "plant" (aerial street wires and older houses) there's a good chance your DSL will be pretty awful for gaming, voip or anything else real/time.
    • by gatfirls (1315141)
      Yes, more speed increases competition and raises the overall quantity/quality for everyone. It also opens the doors for new services and products because a developer isn't going to build out a network to support something like Steam. Just look at 12 years ago, 1Mbps (yes the little b) was ~500-800$ a month, now we are hovering in the 2-3$per Mbps. That has made the internet as you know it possible, in an amazingly (relatively) short time.
    • by tyrione (134248)

      I have charter at the 30/3 increment. it costs just under $50/month. If I wasn't bundled for another 14 months I think I could get by with a slower speed, as long as I can stream some Netflix, and play a bit of CoD, or Battlefield 3 I would be happy. 10MB would probably be enough for me.

      Good for you. I'm paying more than $50/month for 6 down/896 up. I'll gladly swap, if it weren't for that effin' local monopoly Reagan that parasite of ignorance upheld by giving regional telcos regional monopolies. Instead of requiring Ma Bell to be top of the line he deregulated us into a shit sewer of performance issues and we've all be subsidizing those hacks ever since. I'll pay for Verizon FIOS but it's never going to be available in the same area as CenturyLink who took over for Qwest without Verizon

  • by hwstar (35834) on Monday October 01, 2012 @03:34PM (#41517077)

    Speed is not as relevant as it once was. Caps are the big problem now for residential service. The providers are offering speeds in the 10's of megabits per second, but the caps are set so low that the service has no value for the money. There needs to be more competition in residential broadband or more regulation if there is not sufficient competition. The only way out of the caps is to order business service in my area (which I have done, but at $119/mo is quite expensive).

    Both AT&T and Cox have caps in place for residential customers in my area. Cox has no cap (yet) for business customers.

    If it can only be solved by regulation in certain areas of the country, then a moratorium on dividends or a 100% corporate tax on dividends of companies in areas with little competition might provide the necessary incentives to change things. Communications companies pay ridiculously high dividends to shareholders, and I'm convinced this is one of the roots of the problem. This money could be redirected over the long term to build a better Internet in this country, and the communications companies would stand to benefit from it.

    There has been talk recently of the FCC investigating the cap thresholds, but that is just going to lead to a court battle in my opinion (at least in the past it has)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      > Communications companies pay ridiculously high dividends to shareholders, and I'm convinced this is one of the roots of the problem. This money could be redirected over the long term to build a better Internet in this country, and the communications companies would stand to benefit from it.

      They pay dividends instead of reinvesting because there is no need to reinvest. There is no need to reinvest because there is no competition. There is no competition because of barriers to entry. There are barrier

      • by jeffmeden (135043)

        Are the cables being protected, or are they just really really REALLY hard to build out? And frequencies are indeed scarce, so rent-seeking is inevitable unless someone invents a modulation technique that is many thousands of times better than current ones (to alleviate all contention on the resource).

    • Yep. My local ISP offers a 60 Mbps tier. The problem is, it comes with a 150Gb cap, and a $90 per month price tag.
      • Yep. My local ISP offers a 60 Mbps tier. The problem is, it comes with a 150Gb cap, and a $90 per month price tag.

        Why do they offer that kind of speed with such a low cap? Seems incredibly low for what is otherwise a decent speed.

    • We have reached a usage rate where speed in terms of doubling isn't really that big of a deal.
      over 10mbs is usually fast enough for netflix. So we can watch a movie over the internet without waiting for hours... That is good speed.

      It isn't like the days of the 300, 1200, 2400, 9600, 14.4k, 28.8k, 57.6k modems where just downloading a picture was a big deal. For the most part we go to a site, it gives us the content we need. If there is a video we click on it and it plays and streams fast. We are not wai

      • by jeffmeden (135043) on Monday October 01, 2012 @04:38PM (#41517895) Homepage Journal

        We have reached a usage rate where speed in terms of doubling isn't really that big of a deal.
        over 10mbs is usually fast enough for netflix. So we can watch a movie over the internet without waiting for hours... That is good speed.

        It isn't like the days of the 300, 1200, 2400, 9600, 14.4k, 28.8k, 57.6k modems where just downloading a picture was a big deal. For the most part we go to a site, it gives us the content we need. If there is a video we click on it and it plays and streams fast. We are not waiting for hours, or minutes.

        Going from 15mbs to 30mbs is not feeling from going to slow to fast. But from good to snappy.

        HD video is basically the only thing that can push the limit of current high-tier services. A "true" 3 Mbps is about enough for a typical HD stream, so even a family of 4 each watching a different video will be well served by a 15Mbps connection.

        We are seeing the bandwidth pendulum swing back in favor of over-subscribing. As last mile technologies have improved (DOCSIS and DSLAM) the content and the backbones have not. In the next few years, we will see the content improve (HD video at 7 Mbps per stream, or more) and over-subscribed providers will start to crack (like we saw with the first cable/dsl burst in the late 90s). Then, we get to watch as bandwidth caps stay about the same for a decade as backbones catch up, and then we will get to see the whole thing repeat. The circle of life.

    • by abhi2012 (2739367)
      TWC has no caps in my area but the speeds do get a bit pathetic at times.....
    • by TheSync (5291)

      There has been talk recently of the FCC investigating the cap thresholds, but that is just going to lead to a court battle in my opinion (at least in the past it has)

      So last week I asked some people who really should know what the cause of the cable caps were - too much traffic on each broadcast segment (100 to 2000 homes depending on architecture), too much traffic inside the provider distribution network, or too much Internet traffic.

      They told me the problem was too much traffic contention on the last-mil

    • by locopuyo (1433631)
      I get 50/20 Mbit from Verizon LTE on my phone. But if I downloaded at full speed I would hit my 2GB MONTHLY cap in under 10 MINUTES.
      I can browse web sites really fast but that is about all the higher speed gives me. I could stream music just fine with 3G speeds. Videos and tethering would hit my cap too fast.
  • by skine (1524819) on Monday October 01, 2012 @03:39PM (#41517127)

    Where I live, I have two main options:

    1) Verizon DSL at 768kbps
    3) Time Warner at 3Mbps, 10Mbps, 20Mbps or 50Mbps

    You can see why I'm happy that Verizon has the fastest internet in my region.

    • Yeah, at my current address, I have a choice of Suddenlink or....well, just Suddenlink, actually, since I've checked with the other ISPs in my region and none serve my address. Thankfully, Suddenlink is actually decent as far as customer service goes, and they don't lock you into contracts either, so that's nice. Nonetheless, prices are still higher than I'd like. I'm paying $40/mo. to get basic cable and 10Mbps, but I only got the basic cable because adding it, absurdly enough, caused the price to go from

  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Monday October 01, 2012 @03:39PM (#41517135)

    The problem is that Verizon, the only national company providing it to homes in the United States, stopped expanding to new markets a couple of years ago, or at least past the planned footprint. The existing 13.7 million customers get new upgrades (like the new 300Mbps "Quantum" option for $205 a month) and while Verizon expects to grow to 18 million FiOS customers eventually, after that, if you don't have FiOS, you probably never will.

    Just sad. Europe and Asia are quickly leaving the U.S. behind. And no one has any plan to do anything about it. From internet pioneer to the back of the pack.

  • Paying 20€ per month for my 100/20Mbit uncapped, unthrottled fibre connection.
    The competitor is offering 150/30 for roughly the same price.
    Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy reading TFA.
  • First Post (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    If this damn page would load fast enough...

  • I suppose I should be pleased. My very local ISP gives me a consistent 15/15 for $40 - $60 when bundled with local phones.
  • cost (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Scr4tchFury (1211936) on Monday October 01, 2012 @03:49PM (#41517275)
    I'd like to see $/per Mbit. That would be a way more interesting regional graph.
  • If only I could escape from this 10mbit for 45 a month hell.
  • Where is the broadband speed? 30mbps at max is not fast. Only becourse FIOS is the fastest does not mean its good. At least 100mbits I say. Like you could walk 99,999% over the street and not die. You are the best of the dead.. still does not matter.
    • 30mbps at max is not fast

      Next year's test should be much more interesting since both Verizon FiOS and Comcast just started offering 300mbps. Granted those are the most expensive plans, but my current FiOS connection of 25mbps (which usually speedtests at 30mbps) is being upgraded to 50mbps for no additional charge. Automatic speed bumps are occurring across the FiOS lineup, so the $/mbps ratio is becomiing more beneficial to users.

  • by HungryMonkey (1887382) on Monday October 01, 2012 @04:31PM (#41517821)
    FTA:

    Speaking of fiber, what about AT&T? The company did not make the top 15. In fact, the fiber-based AT&T U-verse service got an index of 7.9, putting it at number 22.

    I'm really not surprised by this. One of the worst features of U-verse is that the tv and internet share the same bandwidth. After a little at home testing I found that my '18mbs' connection dropped by almost 6mbs per HD channel we were watching or recording. So while you pay for both, you can really only use one at a time. I promptly dropped their cable. The most frustrating fact is that we can't get Fios in my neighborhood. When we called to set it up while moving in the gentleman kindly informed me that if AT&T services my area Fios will not. Still trying to figure out how that is legal...

  • by noc007 (633443) on Monday October 01, 2012 @04:55PM (#41518097)

    Or did they just have a crappy route to their test server? If I could make a living in Chattanooga TN and the wife be ok with it, I'd move in a heartbeat. The local city owned electrical company has HTTP on the cheap. Their base service is faster (50mbps symetrical) and cheaper than my base service with Comcrap: https://epbfi.com/enroll/packages/#/ [epbfi.com]

    Seriously wish that could happen where I live, but it will never happen. Sad thing is, the available ISPs and speeds are a factor in my choice of domicile. My wife rolls her eyes at that statement, yet she bitches when the internets are slow or don't work; go figure. I've got her on the same page now that we're on Comcrap and shit breaks on occasion. Who said it was impossible to get the wife on your side? I just use logic, point stuff out, and she'll come over to my side on things we disagree on in most cases. I just haven't gotten her on my side when it comes to guns yet, but I haven't made the effort to shoot down her lame arguments with facts yet; no pun intended.

  • by arbiter1 (1204146) on Monday October 01, 2012 @05:09PM (#41518259)
    Consider its only in a limited few area's so how can be put under nationwide when its only in a few area's where as charter, comcast, etc are in every state?
  • Did anyone else notice that upload speeds were labeled as "Averge Upload" for every chart?
  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Monday October 01, 2012 @05:46PM (#41518661) Homepage

    One thing I notice is that the index rating weights in favor of download speed more than upload. That's IMO misleading. It's OK in a world where people only consume content, but in an environment that includes Skype or Google Voice for telephone and video calls, Google Hangouts, cloud-based storage like Dropbox or Google Drive, workers remoting in to the office using VPNs and remote-desktop software, and mobile devices using WiFi and an Internet connection as an alternative to the regular cellular network, upload bandwidth is becoming as important as download bandwidth. Rating ISP A significantly higher than B when A's upload speed is half of B's and A's downloads are only 20% faster seems to me to be misleading.

  • I wonder what it would take to get data like this into Gapminder.org. I want to compare connection speed to population density. I also want a version of the report where they exclude ISPs that effectively require a "bundle" with other services I don't want.
  • In the southwestern-most part of the contiguous KC metro area, I have a symmetric 18Mbps FTTH line with no caps, no throttling, and local phone service from SureWest for $58 after taxes. They offer up to 50/50 service here. I've had no problems with the service, and it has always provided me with the bandwidth I pay for, and sometimes more.

    North of me in KC, KS, they will have Google Fiber rolling out their network.

    West of me in Lawrence, Wicked Broadband has 10/10 wireless service, and is rolling out fi

  • The regional stats aren't correct. In looking at the regional winner for Georgia, I see it's Verizon FiOS. That would be news to VzT (Verizon Telecom) since they have zero presence in Georgia (AT&T, formerly BellSouth territory). People in AL, TN, SC and NC would also agree. My guess is that the numbers for Tampa (LEC is VzT) destroyed the performance for the rest of the ISP's checked in the other states.

    I would love to see a similar test performed, at a higher level of quality, for ISP providers in dat

  • by bored (40072)

    In Austin where i live, its basically Time Warner or AT&T, its like two really crappy choices. I've been a TW customer for years now, but this is the company that gave me 10/1.5 in 1998. Back then it cost me $40 a month, and I was a _REALLY_ happy camper. It got faster for a few years until I had ~15/3 in ~2000, then it started getting slower and slower until it was 8/.5, and TW added another tier, Turbo, so I upgraded and now I was only paying something like $55 a month for 20/2 with "turbo boost" whi

  • Also known as The Slowest ISPs in the World.
  • Latency has a greater impact than raw throughput when it comes to anything interactive and they don't necessarily correlate. For example Comcast vs. Centurylink here in OR. Comcast is the fastest and Centurylink the slowest. Yet Comcast routinely has ping times of 80-100+ms where Centurylink gets around 20-30ms ping times (using the same google ip as an example for testing). The difference is noticeable.

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