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U.S. residential broadband speeds average 50% of advertised speeds

August 19th, 2010 at 3:33 AM

The megabit wars are pretty comical on both the residential and wireless broadband fronts. Companies promise internet speeds “up to” a certain number of megabits and label their network technologies with catchy phrases like “power boost.” Recent news stories that come to mind include: a report that WiMax 2 would provide speeds up to 100 Mbps, Verizon has achieved nearly 1 Gbps with a residential FiOS deployment, and T-Mobile is rapidly expanding its 4G-ish HSPA+ network at up to 21 Mbps. All the speeds boasted are usually preempted by the words “peak” or “theoretical” making them, like that 35 mpg highway rating on your Cadillac Escalade, unlikely.

Thanks to the FCC, and data from comScore and Akamai, these megabit myths (on the residential broadband side0 have been governmentally confirmed. The FCC concluded that, “the median actual speed consumers experienced in the first half of 2009 was roughly 3 Mbps, while the average (mean) actual speed was approximately 4 Mbps.” Contrast this with the average advertised download speed of 6.7 Mbps in that same period,and you can see there is a bit of an actual speed deficit. The FCC concluded that when you look at the actual speeds consumers are experiencing they are far slower than the speeds they are promised in advertising. As Ars Technica reports, the FCC findings recommend that “a standard truth-in-labeling form should be drafted by the FCC,” in order to make broadband speeds clearer. Sort of like those super-accurate MPG stickers on new cars.

We want to know: what is your ISP, what speeds were you promised, and what are your actual speeds? Do you think a broadband report card is a good idea?

Read [FCC Report PDF] Read [Ars Technica]

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