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Cablevision Fares Much Better in Latest FCC Data
Company Took FCC Report to Heart
by Karl Bode 12:39PM Tuesday Dec 06 2011
Roughly four months ago the FCC issued the results of a significant study that involved using customer firmware-embedded routers in users homes to measure ISP broadband service quality. While several companies (Comcast, Verizon FiOS) delivered more than what they advertised, a number of companies were singled out at being particularly bad at delivering peak broadband speeds. Windstream, Mediacom, AT&T. Qwest (now CenturyLink) were notablle poor performers but Cablevision was cited as particularly bad -- offering advertised speeds just 50% of the time during peak usage hours.

After taking a bit of a press beating for the results, we noticed that Cablevision very quickly started making some quiet network enhancements. While not officially announced, those enhancements involved quietly nudging tiers like their 15 Mbps offering to 20 Mbps. Not too surprisingly, four months later and a newer FCC study now shows that Cablevision is delivering 90% of the speeds advertised during peak hours. A post over at the FCC blog points out the improvements:
quote:
We are pleased to note that the performance of one company—Cablevision—markedly improved from earlier this year. As we noted in our report, during March 2011, subscribers to Cablevision’s 15 Mbps service were receiving average download speeds during peak hours of only about 50% of the advertised speed. By comparison, average users across all companies other than Cablevision were receiving download speeds during peak hours of 89% of the advertised speeds. During October 2011, the most recent month for which data is available, subscribers to Cablevision’s 15 Mbps service were receiving average download speeds during peaks hours at over 90% of the advertised speed.
Cablevision likely found the FCC's report particularly disadvantageous in their NY metro area marketing fight against Verizon FiOS, which has long over-delivered advertised speeds in order to re-enforce the perception of a high-end product. The FCC isn't yet releasing the full report, so it's not clear if other sub-par performers have also made some changes. Frontier Communications was another particularly poor performer in the FCC's last study, delivering advertised speeds just 67% of the time during peak usage hours.

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bgraham

join:2001-03-15
Smithtown, NY
Reviews:
·VOIPO
·Verizon VoiceWing

Something Positive Actually Happened

Wow! It's good to see that CV actually did something. I had terrible speed issues after 3 pm when I was a CV customer, which is why I switched to FIOS.

I guess all those Verizon ads relating to Cablevision speeds will get put in the dumpster.

Maybe CV made the upgrade changes just to tick off VZ and have the VZ ads become obsolete.

DataRiker
Premium
join:2002-05-19
00000

Re: Something Positive Actually Happened

Cable-vision from what I understand is in a competitive area, which explains the results.

ITALIAN926

join:2003-08-16
kudos:2
Does it matter? 89% does not equal the 110% what FiOS provides.

n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY

That Explains It

I was getting inundated with emails and phone calls from Cablevision that there were going to be network enhancement in my area and that I would need to restart my modem or perform other steps to restore service if it got lost. I had already noticed my speeds had gone to 20/2 back in September. In recent testing, I am seeing almost consistent 20/2 speeds. Even SpeedTest on my iPhone through my wireless router is showing just shy of 20/2.
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Zores

join:2002-02-24
New Milford, NJ

I'll never switch back

Still not better than the 35/35 which is actually 43/35 i get from fios. I used to be a OOL customer for a long time but they've done nothing to make their speeds 100%+ like I get from fios. So if they can't do that just slash prices to make it affordable, what? they can't oh well then.
majortom1029

join:2006-10-19
Lindenhurst, NY
kudos:1

Re: I'll never switch back

said by Zores:

Still not better than the 35/35 which is actually 43/35 i get from fios. I used to be a OOL customer for a long time but they've done nothing to make their speeds 100%+ like I get from fios. So if they can't do that just slash prices to make it affordable, what? they can't oh well then.

How is $69 for tripple play not affordable? They have been offering people $69 and $79 tripple play deals.

ITALIAN926

join:2003-08-16
kudos:2

Re: I'll never switch back

That jump up to $180 after the promo ends.

MxxCon

join:1999-11-19
Brooklyn, NY

Re: I'll never switch back

vz's promos end too. how much does fios tripleplay cost w/o any discounts?
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aannoonn

@optonline.net

Re: I'll never switch back

said by MxxCon:

vz's promos end too. how much does fios tripleplay cost w/o any discounts?

$0 here (because Fios is not available)

kickass69

join:2002-06-03
Lake Hopatcong, NJ

I can concur

I noticed with their 'quiet network improvments', CV upped the download speed tier caps on each of their service tiers. Standard OOL is now capped at 22.5 Mbps. I tend to get this at all times of the day on average with 4 downstream bonded channels on my Arris TM802G Touchstone DOCSIS 3 modem:




They still need to work on their upload speeds with upstream channel bonding.
frdrizzt

join:2008-05-03
Ronkonkoma, NY
kudos:1

Re: I can concur

The downstream cap increase was independent of the network upgrades. That's why everyone got the cap increase right around 9/1, but areas are continuously having the network upgrades in small sections.

aannoonn

@optonline.net

Math

So the average speed went from 7.5 Mbps to 13.4 Mbps. Obviously an improvement, but still slow compared to the competition.
Rekrul

join:2007-04-21
Milford, CT
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse

Not much increase here...

I have Cablevision's Boost service at 30mbps and right now, the Speakeasy speed test is showing a high of about 19mbps. The speed tests here don't even break 9mbps.

I have noticed that in real-world usage, I tend to get anywhere from 1.9 - 4MB/s download speeds, depending on the time of day.

And can someone please explain to me, why it is that internet accounts and speed tests are all rated in kilobits and megabits, but every single internet oriented program from web browsers to P2P clients and bandwidth meters, gives you the speed in kilobytes and megabytes?
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Re: Not much increase here...

The measurements may or may not refer to the same thing. There are 8-bits to a byte and on the surface, simple math converts between two expressions. (A KB is 1,024 8-bit bytes per second. A MB is 1,048,576 8-bit bytes per second.)

However, you can only convert between the two with confidence if you understand what's being measured. Browsers and P2P programs are likely reporting "user data" transferred, not raw data transferred. Depending on the application protocol, there may be application-level overhead that reduces the quantity of "user data" transferred because a portion of the data is used by the application to control the transfer. I'm calling it "user data" because application protocols may encode source data in such a manner as to inflate its size. For instance, e-mail attachments and XML documents often use Base64 or MIME encoding to represent binary data. This can add up to 30% to the size of the data that needs to be transferred. If you have a 10Mbps connection that sends MIME data at full speed, 30% of the transfer speed could be used by the application's encoding. This reduces the effective transfer rate. That is, 10Mbps of data is being transferred but if 30% of it is used by the application to recreate the source data, the "user data transfer speed" (i.e. KB/sec or MB/sec) is significantly less than the raw transfer speed.

If you want to read why MIME/Base64 encoding is used, see this Wikipedia primer:

»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIME

If you've wrapped your head around that, it's gets even muddier but the concepts are the same. Below the top-level application protocol is the network protocol. Commonly, TCP/IP is used which divides the data into packets and each packet contains a header. The header contains source and destination IP addresses, source and destination ports, packet sequence number, checksum and other "control data". This is underneath or below the MIME application encoding above and it also reduces the size of the "user data" that can be transferred.
Rekrul

join:2007-04-21
Milford, CT
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse

Re: Not much increase here...

said by rradina:

Browsers and P2P programs are likely reporting "user data" transferred, not raw data transferred. Depending on the application protocol, there may be application-level overhead that reduces the quantity of "user data" transferred because a portion of the data is used by the application to control the transfer.

I understand what you're saying, but in most cases, the speed reported by my client software is higher, often significantly, than the speed reported by speed tests. The Speakeasy test is still showing me 15-20mbps, even though I just got done downloading a file that peaked at 4.2MB/s and was around 3MB/s for much of the transfer.

Personally, I'd rather have the ISP tell me that I can expect speeds of 2-4MB/s rather than saying I'll be getting 20-30mbps.
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Re: Not much increase here...

The difference you see could be related to the SpeedTest site vs. the download site. Your ISP could have a better route to the download site vs. the SpeedTest site. Try using a different SpeedTest site -- even if it's a bit further away -- to see if the results are more consistent.

Regarding getting ISPs to rate their service by MB/second...good luck with that. Marketing types love higher numbers when branding products. Remember when the Ghz barrier in processor speeds was hit? Before that, the newness of the processor was always closely associated with it's clock speed. Now it's core count + clock speed. The same thing happened with cordless phones. We went from 900 Mhz to 2.4Ghz to 5Ghz but suddenly we started seeing DECT 6.1 models (Implying 6.1Ghz but it was really using something like 1.7Ghz). 6.1 was used because it's been beat into our head that new stuff has "higher" model numbers.
Rekrul

join:2007-04-21
Milford, CT
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse

Re: Not much increase here...

said by rradina:

The difference you see could be related to the SpeedTest site vs. the download site. Your ISP could have a better route to the download site vs. the SpeedTest site. Try using a different SpeedTest site -- even if it's a bit further away -- to see if the results are more consistent.

Typically, the further away the test site is, the worse the speed.
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Re: Not much increase here...

True but as always, it depends. Even large markets with multiple premier backbone providers can have interesting routes. If two backbone providers don't share traffic until they get to a major hub (i.e. Chicago, NYC, WDC, etc.), a speedtest site in your hometown may require packets to leave town, go hundreds of miles away, cross over and return hundreds of miles. When this happens, it's far better to choose the speed test site at the major hub than the site next door.

As an example, the speed test site in St. Louis (where I am) stinks. It's better for me to use sites in Chicago, Dallas or Kansas City because Charter has direct routes to those cities. However, the local speed test site has traffic going to Chicago and back. (Download something like Ping Plotter and watch where the packets travel.)

Speed test sites are also not created equal. I've tried to use the speed test site in St. Louis from a lot of provider networks in town and I've never had great results.
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
·ooma
·Optimum Online
·Verizon FiOS

service not uniformly better

I can say that I've been to at least ONE municipality out on eastern LI and they have NOT touched a thing in SOME places where FIOS is not available! Customers getting about 65% of the tier rate (about 9-12mbits). during peak usage times. Last time I checked it was 35% (5 megabits) so there was a modest bump but nothing near the full tier rate. Forget 20/2 on the north shore of LI where cablevision has some micro-monopolies. Isn't it time for VERIZON to fill in these gaps of service?!? Start working with these micro municipalities to get FTTP to the last places of LI left to build.. including gated communities that ONLY have cablevision as a viable broadband service and verizon's copper and you might see Cablevision improve service there too.

Perhaps as you get closer to fullly implemented FIOS geographies in NYC you see optimum reaching and exceeding goals because they have to so they can keep customers from switching to FIOS. That's where you'll actually see them upgrading the fiber lines to handle more traffic and splitting nodes.

jaa
Premium
join:2000-06-13
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
·Vonage

Speed and politics is local

Averages are great, but what really matters is what you get...

Wonder if Verizon is going to pull their ads touting the results from measurements taken a year ago.

FCC has it all wrong - what they should be reporting is cost per average speed. One provider may deliver 100% of their 6mbps service for $45/mo, and another may deliver 50% of their 15mbps service for $45/mo. Still better off with the second provider.
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