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Average Broadband Speed in US Rises Above 50 Mbps For First Time (techcrunch.com) 108

Internet speeds are getting faster in the United States, especially in cities such as Kansas City, Austin, Seattle, San Francisco, and Phoenix, according to a new Speedtest Market Report. The report, by Ookla's popular service, found that fixed broadband customers saw the biggest jump in performance this year with download speeds achieving an average of over 50Mbps for the first time ever. The result marks a 40 percent increase since July 2015. From a TechCrunch report: That average, 54.97 megabits per second is 42 percent higher than the same period last year, and upload jumped even more -- 18.88 is 51 percent higher year over year. This is all based on the 8 million or so daily tests conducted on Speedtest's website and apps, by the way, so the data is pretty sound. Comcast Xfinity took the honors for fastest speed on average, but its 125 megabits wasn't that much higher than the competition: Cox with 118 and Spectrum with 114. [...] On mobile, Verizon and T-Mobile are tied for first place with 21 megabits and change download speed on average, though the latter beats the competition by a long shot with upload speeds averaging 11.59 megabits. Poor Sprint, though.
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Average Broadband Speed in US Rises Above 50 Mbps For First Time

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  • This (Score:5, Funny)

    by John Smith ( 4340437 ) on Thursday August 04, 2016 @10:02AM (#52643725)
    Is probably the result of people using mobile phone data instead of DSL .
    • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
      Why are people rating this funny? I was getting 25Mbs with my Comcast wired connection. While waiting in a parking lot one day, I decided to speed test my T-Mobile connection and got 90Mbs. I've since upgraded my modem with Comcast, but the point remains that I was getting faster data through my cell service than my wired connection (and for a lot less money, although the high speed data limit is 1/100th of what Comcast's is).
      • Data caps are the real issue that is mostly ignored in the US. What is the point of having 50-Mbps speeds if you are charged for going over your (X-GB.month) data cap? It's far to easy to do so. We need a class action suit against the land based ISP's for this gouging tactic.
        • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
          I agree - especially when what most people signed on for was "unlimited," and especially if someone signed a long term (year or more) contract that the provider unilaterally changed after the fact. But really, instead of going the route of more government regulation, they should be attacking providers for dividing up territory to keep monopolies. If we had more competition, we'd have better prices and service. I would dearly love to dump Comcast, but now I'm getting 90Mbs, and nobody else in my area come
        • by MercTech ( 46455 )

          I had over 25 Mbps until AT&T started throttling back in May 2016.
          And AT&T told us then that we could not have an internet package without a cap unless we committed to a one year contract for television service too. .... I had almost forgotten why I dropped Uverse TV a few years ago until I saw the 18 minutes of advertising per half hour of program standard again.

          We moved to Uverse from DSL so we could have two people in an MMORPG while a third person watched Netflix. Y

  • I call fould (Score:3, Informative)

    by mrlinux11 ( 3713713 ) on Thursday August 04, 2016 @10:09AM (#52643769)
    I and my neighbors are nowhere near 50mb, I have the fastest and it is just 3mb's
    • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Thursday August 04, 2016 @10:15AM (#52643807) Homepage Journal
      Me too. I live in Seattle and we only have 300 baud modems. We share them with 25 other people too.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        300 baud modem? My family of 50 has to share a connection, which is just cousin Cletus shouting "one" and "zero" from the top of a telegraph pole and listening for a response from cousin Billy-Joe standing on Comcast's roof.

      • by murdocj ( 543661 )

        Yeah, and having to jam my cell phone into the acoustic coupler is a real pain.

    • by TheSync ( 5291 )

      If you are on DSL and live more than 3.5 km of loop from the DSLAM, you will never get faster than 5 Mbps [increasebr...peed.co.uk].

      The average local loop length in the US is 4.25 km...

      DSL has sped up incredibly for short loops, but for long loops there won't be much improvement. Either someone has to build DSLAMs closer to the houses, FTTx, etc.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        I'm fascinated by all of these cable operators that seem to be leaving money on the table. Everywhere I've lived since the late 90s has had respectable cable modem service or something even better.

      • 5.25 mbps down 500k up. ISP: CenturyLink Zipcode 17225
    • by geek ( 5680 )

      I and my neighbors are nowhere near 50mb, I have the fastest and it is just 3mb's

      This is an "average" meaning your puny 3mb is being lumped in with people on 1 gig fiber. The data is heavily skewed as a result.

    • I have gigabit fiber, so it takes more than 20 of you to make up for me.
  • Things have been progressing along nicely here in Tampa, though I wonder what the future is going to be like now that Verizon sold it's FIOS service to Frontier. I have 75/75 service and typically see somewhere in the 80-90's for each direction.

    They have service upward of 250/250, but not willing to pay that much a month.

  • Time Warner Maxx (Score:4, Informative)

    by butchersong ( 1222796 ) on Thursday August 04, 2016 @10:13AM (#52643795)
    I'm not surprised. Time Warner, the largest provider in the states has been rolling out decent upgrades recently. I'm in Kentucky (not typically the best availability) and am at 300/20 mbps as of this year. Not sure if this is a trend with other ISPs
    • by Anonymous Coward
      AC because I modded you up, but TW did the same for me in Los Angeles recently - I generally clock around 350/27 on my shiny newly pumped up 300/20 connection, which costs something like $65 a month. Can't complain so far.
  • Thanks, Google (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pak9rabid ( 1011935 ) on Thursday August 04, 2016 @10:16AM (#52643815)
    I can directly attribute this bump in speed in my town (Austin) to Google Fiber. Before Google announced they were coming to Austin, the absolute fastest consumer-grade connection one could get was 50 Mbits, through TWC. As soon as Google mentioned their intentions to enter Austin with their Fiber service, TWC immediately started offering 100, 200, and even 300 Mbit plans, with plans for a 500 Mbit service level on the horizon. AT&T did something similar with their U-Verse service as well. Hell, I can even get these speeds in the next town over (Buda), where Google hasn't even announced they're going to go into. A little competition goes a long way.
    • Huntsville, AL is about to experience the same. Our biggest ISP (AT&T) just lost out on a bid to deliver fiber internet through the utility company's fiber network. Suddenly, they've decided to listen to their customers who have been screaming for years for faster service and roll out their own fiber service. Of course all this is presuming that since corrupt Montgomery has their finger in all local politics, they don't just bribe their way in to legislating out Google.
    • Same here in Jacksonville FL: Google announced this spring their interest in coming here. First part of July I get a postcard in the mail that AT&T has plumbed my neighborhood for FTTH and here's the package deal. Since I already had DirecTV the bundled cost for net/TV/VOIP was about $50/month less than my bills to Comcast, DirecTV & Vonage, and my bandwidth test via speedtest is now 940 Mb both ways vs. 80/10 with Comcast, and with the satellite bundle there's no data cap. Bundle cost is good fo
      • Pretty sweet bandwidth for satellite. What's your latency (ping) like though?
        • no, no, the internet is FTTH (they dropped a fiber off the pole, drilled through the wall, put a fiber-to-cat-6 box on my wall to their "gateway" box (4-port router + dual-band 802.11ac, plus two VOIP ports). My TV service is off the oval dish on the corner of my roof to two receivers. Ping is 7ms per speedtest
    • But at what monthly cost?
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday August 04, 2016 @10:33AM (#52643917) Homepage

    This is all based on the 8 million or so daily tests conducted on Speedtest's website and apps, by the way, so the data is pretty sound.

    So how many people on the same old DSL line run a speed test to check that there speed is the same as it was 10 years ago? People use speed tests when they got a new line, they've upgraded it or they're troubleshooting. They don't do it at random. Our national statistics here in Norway is based on collection of subscription statistics, which seems far more reliable as users would probably complain if they didn't get what they paid for. Last figures are 1,914,431 broadband connections, average of 40.2 Mbps with a median of 25.6 Mbps.

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )

      A few months ago a /. story stated that US internet speeds were lower than most European countries. Everyone believed those numbers.

      Now the US numbers are higher than Europe and nobody believes them.

      Bottom line is that everyone's speeds are going up; whoever had the most recent survey wins.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        There's always going to be some outlier that says "no mine is great" or "no mine actually sucks".

        Plus, all journalism is agenda driven these days.

    • by murdocj ( 543661 )

      Since most people are troubleshooting, odds are speedtest is under-reporting actual speeds, not over-reporting.

  • Windstream provides a whopping(sic) 6-Mbps for nearing $80/mo. Cable internet crosses my driveway and every request for connection has been turned down because I'm too far off the road; even after my offer to take care of the last 700 feet...
    • I'm paying $99/mo for my 6Mbps, with 300 GB transfer, from Digital Path. DSL and Cable are both on the next road over, but not mine.

      Telcos and Cable Companies should be forced to expand service to all paved roads if they're going to get a monopoly. That'll show 'em.

      • I'm paying $99/mo for my 6Mbps, with 300 GB transfer, from Digital Path. DSL and Cable are both on the next road over, but not mine.

        Telcos and Cable Companies should be forced to expand service to all paved roads if they're going to get a monopoly. That'll show 'em.

        You really need to make friends with someone on the next road over and set up a few parabolic antennas.

  • by oneiros27 ( 46144 ) on Thursday August 04, 2016 @10:35AM (#52643933) Homepage

    They say this is "broadband" speeds, but broadband was redefined last year to require 25Mbps downloads [gizmodo.com].

    So, someone could be sneaky and say 'oh, those 10 Mbps connections aren't broadband anymore', and you just drop out the lowest numbers, and miraculously the average goes up.

    Schools were using this trick by keeping the poorly performing students from taking standardized testing to raise their test averages.

    • I'm paying about $140/mo for 30/5 with a static IP via DSL.

      They're hanging fiber from the poles now (apparently burying it is too expensive), but I don't know if they'll actually offer us anything faster; there's only one pipe out of here. My middle son is on optical already, and he's running at a whopping 10/1. I think they're just tired of maintaining all that old copper. Lots of lightning here, keeps the repair people running hard all summer.

    • > broadband was redefined last year to require 25Mbps downloads.

      Which is itself an example of government redefining scientific truth, not unlike the Indiana Pi bill. Baseband, passband, narrowband, and broadband have actual meanings, they describe the physics of how the connection works. 100 Mbps ethernet uses one channel, therefore it is narrowband. Gigabit ethernet uses four channels, so it's broadband.

      • by narcc ( 412956 )

        broadband was redefined last year to require 25Mbps downloads.

        Which is itself an example of government redefining scientific truth

        Umm... What "scientific truth" would that be, exactly?

        I think you're deeply confused.

        • Fast ethernet uses one channel. It is therefore baseband. That's a fact. It's not a matter of opinion. Claiming that ethernet isn't baseband, but rather broadband, is just like claiming that ethernet is wifi. That's simply false.

          Baseband vs broadband are determined by whether a signal is multi-channel or single-channel, and have nothing to do with speed. "Defining" ethernet as broadband is precisely the same as "defining" Pi as 4.

          More about baseband vs broadband transmission:
          http://www.pearsonitcertificat [pearsonitc...cation.com]

          • by narcc ( 412956 )

            So it's the word "scientific" that's confused you...

            A few other points: The term "broadband", in this context, means something other than what you want it to mean. If you have a complaint about how language works, you'll need to get over it. No one is "Defining ethernet as broadband". You came up with that one all on your own.

            Again: What "scientific truth" are they "redefining", exactly?

            • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

              Plus, we are talking about technology here. That means we are talking about engineering rather than science. People who love to feel smug about "being more scientific" love to muddle this stuff.

            • > No one is "Defining ethernet as broadband".

              Here's the FCC announcement where they said any connection greater than 25 Mbps one way and 3 Mbps the other is a broadband connection:
              https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_pub... [fcc.gov]

              Obviously at 100 Mbps, that includes ethernet. So yes, the FCC has declared that Ethernet is broadband.

              Yet it continues to be baseband, whether the FCC likes it or not.

              • by narcc ( 412956 )

                Ummm... Nowhere in your link will you find anyone "defining ethernet as broadband".

                Obviously at 100 Mbps, that includes ethernet.

                LOL, Wut? You may want to do a bit of reading. What you've written is completely incoherent.

                I'm still waiting on this: What "scientific truth" are they "redefining", exactly? Or have you finally figured out that that particular claim was absurd nonsense?

    • by ttsai ( 135075 )

      They say this is "broadband" speeds, but broadband was redefined last year to require 25Mbps downloads [gizmodo.com].

      So, someone could be sneaky and say 'oh, those 10 Mbps connections aren't broadband anymore', and you just drop out the lowest numbers, and miraculously the average goes up.

      Schools were using this trick by keeping the poorly performing students from taking standardized testing to raise their test averages.

      Actually, the Speedtest report directly says this is exactly what they are doing. The reported numbers only consider the top 10% of speeds for a given ISP for a given location. So, the number is definitely not an average, even given that the samples are not random, e.g., people with better connections might be more likely to try the Speedtest test.

      So, the absolute speed number is not directly useful as a representation of the average or distribution of connection speeds. It may yield some insight after m

  • by Eponymous Coward ( 6097 ) on Thursday August 04, 2016 @11:06AM (#52644193)

    So do you think one day there will be a headline:

    Average Broadband Speed in US Rises Above 50 Mbps Again

  • Well I'm doing my best to keep it down with my 13mb CenturyLink DSL line... and patiently (grrr...) waiting for Google Fiber.
    • Trade you my 6mbps CenturyLink line with no hope of ever getting Google Fiber.

      The local telco, one of the old school co-ops, was in the process of installing fiber links when CenturyLink bought it and stopped all infrastructure upgrades pending a cost/benefit analysis. Three years ago, seems like we lost the cost/benefit analysis.

  • Akamai says 15 Mbps (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheSync ( 5291 ) on Thursday August 04, 2016 @11:23AM (#52644381) Journal

    The Akamai State of the Internet Q1 2016 [akamai.com] has a US average Internet bandwidth of 15 Mbps, which is far more believable.

    I agree that there are plenty of people in the US with 50 Mbps+ (I have that myself), but there are still a lot of people on the end of long DSL loops who will never get higher than 5 Mbps.

  • Why poor Sprint? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Thursday August 04, 2016 @11:52AM (#52644641)
    I've been on an ancient Sprint unlimited data plan (true unlimited data - I've used up to 112 GB in a month with no complaints and no throttling) for $50/mo for over a decade now. They had a rough spot with the WiMax bungle, but I stuck with them gambling that they'd pull through. And they have. I almost always have LTE service now in Southern California. TFA lists Sprint's (and AT&T's) LTE coverage as 93% vs Verizon's 98% (then uses a graph whose scale is apparently 90%-100% to exaggerate the difference). It's the LTE coverage which is key. It was really painful when Sprint was down near 50%, but it's actually pretty rare for me to see my phone in 3G mode nowadays.

    As for LTE speed, the average of the other carriers is 21.2 Mbps down, 9.3 Mbps up. Sprint's is 15.8 Mbps down, 4.9 Mbps up, or 75% down and 53% up vs the other carriers. Unless you're streaming 4k video to your cell phone, or regularly shoot a lot of videos and insist that they be uploaded to cloud backup immediately, these differences simply don't matter. They're all "fast enough" - they correspond to a few seconds or even a split second difference in most use cases.

    The speeds are to the point where consistency (better coverage, fewer dead spots) is a more important factor. And by that metric there's now only a 5% difference between the best and worst mobile carrier in the U.S. Hardly worth the 2x price Verizon wants for service. That's why I gambled and decided not to give up my unlimited plan on Sprint by switching carriers. Once your coverage reaches about 90% (which was where Verizon was at when Sprint was around 50%), you're pretty close to maxed out. There's simply not much more improvement you can make. Whereas Sprint at 50% had a lot of room for possible improvement. (Your experience will vary with location. I hear Sprint still sucks in the Bay Area.)

    (And if you're curious, no I'm not a bandwidth hog. My monthly data use is usually down around 1-3 GB. Just every now and then I go on a business trip or vacation, and use my phone as a hotspot so I and my family/friends can get Internet on our laptops and tablets. I'd have to pay $15/GB for overage if I switched to Verizon. The month I used 112 GB would've cost me over $1500. No thanks.)
  • Ookla/speedtest.net is used by people on fast connections to see how fast they can push data, not by people on slow connections to see how bad they are, and not by the general public to accumulate representative data. This report would be like going to a drag strip and then claiming that the data shows that the average American car does a 1/4 mile in 8 seconds.
  • Seriously, it would be nice if Google offered up partnership in their cable company to Amazon and Netflix. OR let them start their own, with google setting them up on how to compete. After all, the faster that we get competition out there amongst all states, the faster that Amazon, Netflix, Google, etc can see their speeds go without paying anything to current bandwidth providers.
  • Wait until Google Fiber and Verizon FIOS are widely available.
  • http://www.speedtest.net/my-re... [speedtest.net] 1.5Mbps/down .37Mbps/up for $30/mo

    With Frontier spending their profits on fighting municipal/community broadband competition I've really got to find an alternative out here...

    • On frontier I have two 3.5 Mbps/down .75Mbps/up connections going into a load balancer. Does that count as 7/1.5? Both lines $19+$15

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