For several years now PC Magazine has been conducting a somewhat controversial ranking of broadband ISPs by speed, using the PC Magazine Surfspeed
application. Criticism over the years has grown about the magazine's methodology, and their decision to rank ISPs based on browsing speed
in the age of 100 Mbps connections and Internet video. In 2007, many of our readers took issue with the magazine's results
, noting the findings listed ISPs in incorrect states, and even managed to confuse gigabit and kilobit measurements.
Last year, popular speed measuring site Ookla was pointedly critical of the magazine's methodology
, stating the PC Mag test didn't represent the performance of an ISP or a modern web browsing experience
...the test happens in serial using two connections at a time, but modern web browsers go well beyond this old HTTP limitation. For example Firefox 3 and Internet Explorer 8 default to six parallel connections to a host when retrieving content. PC Magazine claims that they are trying to represent the speed of an actual web browsing experience, but apparently it is not a modern one. Ignoring that issue the test could still be used to compare rudimentary web browsing performance, but does that really represent the performance of an ISP? No.
PC Magazine was listening, and this year finally changed their measuring methodology -- by hiring Ookla to do it for them
In previous years, our tests focused on browsing download speeds. However, with video streaming and massive uploads/downloads becoming the norm, we realized we needed to change our methodology.
PC Magazine has released their annual ISP Service & Reliability Survey (see story
and actual results
). The survey ranks broadband carriers on a scale of 1-10 in categories such as service setup, service speed, added fees, connection reliability, customer support and technical service, and repair frequency and quality.. According to PC Magazine readers, Verizon FiOS took top honors, with an overall score of 8.7 (luckily for Verizon, PC Magazine didn't rank carriers based on billing accuracy
). The next closest competitors were Cablevision and Cox, who scored 7.8 and 7.8 respectively. As is usually the case with consumer surveys
, Comcast and Charter Communications brought up the rear with respective scores of 6.9 and 6.5.