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FCC Releases Third “Measuring Broadband America” Report

February 15, 2013

FCC Releases Third "Measuring Broadband America" Report

Source: Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission today released the results of its ongoing, nationwide performance study of residential broadband service in its third “Measuring Broadband America” report. The report continues the Commission’s efforts towards bringing greater clarity and competition to the home broadband services marketplace. This year’s report reveals that most broadband providers continue to improve service performance by delivering actual speeds that meet – or exceed – advertised speeds during the past year and that consumers are subscribing to faster speed tiers and receiving faster speeds than ever before.

The FCC released the first Measuring Broadband America Report in August 2011. That report covered data collected in March 2011 and found that most broadband providers who participated in the study were providing over 80 percent of advertised speeds during peak usage periods. The FCC’s second report, released July 2012, included data collected from participating broadband providers in April 2012, and found that ISPs on average delivered 96 percent of advertised download speed during peak usage period. Specifically, this year’s report indicates three key areas of improvement.

First, most broadband providers continue to closely meet or exceed the speeds they advertise. In the time period measured for the August 2011 report, the average broadband provider delivered 87 percent of advertised download speed during times when bandwidth demand was at its peak. During the time period measured for the July 2012 report, that number rose to 96 percent. In this year’s report, ISPs maintained their performance levels, delivering 97 percent of advertised speeds during peak periods. One provider significantly improved actual performance speeds by 13 percent from the previous report. FCC analysis indicates that the improvements of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in meeting their advertised speeds were largely driven by improvements in network performance, and not downward adjustments to the speed tiers offered.

Second, consumers of broadband providers covered by the report are continuing to migrate to faster speed tiers and receiving faster speeds than ever before. The FCC found that the average speed tier subscribed to by consumers increased from 14.3 Megabits per second (Mbps) to 15.6 Mbps. Nearly half of consumers who subscribed to speeds of less than 1 Mbps six months ago have adopted higher speeds, and nearly a quarter of the users who subscribed to speeds between 1 Mbps and 3 Mbps have upgraded to faster speed tiers.

Third, significant improvements have been made to satellite broadband technology service quality. For the first time, the report includes results on satellite technology based on test results from ViaSat, a major satellite services provider. Although satellite technology has the highest overall latency, test results indicate that during peak periods, 90 percent of satellite consumers received 140 percent or better of the advertised speed of 12 Mbps. In addition, there was very little difference between peak and non-peak performance.

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