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FCC Report: ISPs Still Struggling to Deliver Advertised Speeds
Though Verizon FiOS and Cablevision Exceed Claims
by Karl Bode 02:20PM Thursday Jul 19 2012
The FCC has released their latest report exploring whether broadband ISPs are delivering the speeds they promised. Last time you'll recall the report singled out Cablevision for failing to deliver advertised speeds during peak hours, something that resulted in the company significantly improving service without the FCC having to wield the regulatory hammer. The first report noted that most ISPs delivered actual download speeds within 80 percent of advertised speeds#&46 This year, the report found that most ISPs delivered speeds within 90 percent of advertised speeds.

Click for full size
The problem for many ISPs continues to be the ability to keep delivering promised speeds during peak usage hours, which typically fall between 8 and 10 PM. This time around, Cablevision came out on top alongside of Verizon FiOS for meeting or exceeding advertised speeds during peak hours. Companies like Frontier, which has far less competitive incentive to upgrade their network, suffered significantly at delivering speeds during peak hours (see chart, right).

Having taken a beating the last go round, Cablevision was quick to issue a press release crowing that the report found their Optimum Online base service delivered 128 percent of advertised speeds during peak weekday hours. Verizon was also quick to draw attention to the findings. It's unlikely that Frontier's PR department will be issuing a press release on the fact their lines struggle to deliver 75% of advertised speeds, the only ISP that was actually worse than last year. Verizon also omits mentioning the mediocre showing of their DSL lines.

The FCC notes that things have improved not only due to network improvements, but also thanks to more realistic top speed promises made in ads. Still, the report found that just four out of the fourteen measured ISPs could actually offer speeds as fast as are claimed in the companies advertisements.

The report pulls its data from a variety of sources, including custom routers at consumer homes that are monitored and tracked by UK reporting firm SamKnows (many of our readers are participants). The full report is absolutely worth a read for data junkies, and offers a universe of data broken down by carrier and delivery technology.

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MovieLover76

join:2009-09-11
kudos:1

Sucks to be on Frontier

I feel really bad for frontier subscribers
bn1221

join:2009-04-29
Cortland, NY

Re: Sucks to be on Frontier

I'm shocked Frontier did that well. Granted they push 768K out of a 1 mbit DSL line but they run 20-40 of this on a remote that is fed with 3-4 T1s.

20ish Mbit muxing to 4.5-6Mbit would seem to indicate a 30%.
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

Re: Sucks to be on Frontier

said by bn1221:

20ish Mbit muxing to 4.5-6Mbit would seem to indicate a 30%.

Only if every customer out of that remote is trying to peg their connection at the same time. Frontier definitely needs to do better but there isn't a single ISP in the world that I'm aware of who builds out their residential network with 1 to 1 contention.
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY
I guess it depends on where you are. I have 6/1 DSL service with Frontier and have yet to find a time of the day when I can't max out my connection.

batterup
I Can Not Tell A Lie.
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Netcong, NJ
said by MovieLover76:

I feel really bad for frontier subscribers

Why? I'm sure Tell-Truth will supply them with 100/100.

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Struggling?? Except for Frontier - not true

The majority of ISPs are meeting their advertised goals. The headline doesn't reflect the reality. The only ISP still needing much improvement is Frontier. The rest are delivering what they promise to their customers.

quote:
The first report noted that most ISPs delivered actual download speeds within 80 percent of advertised speeds. This year, the report found that most ISPs delivered speeds within 90 percent of advertised speeds
Does that sound like struggling? Looks more like quickly improving.

--
»www.mittromney.com/s/repeal-and-···bamacare
»www.mittromney.com/issues/health-care

Ut98Ex

join:2012-07-11
Simpsonville, KY

Re: Struggling?? Except for Frontier - not true

Dang, are you sure you don't work in the Romney campaign? That is some professional spin right there.

MovieLover76

join:2009-09-11
kudos:1

Re: Struggling?? Except for Frontier - not true

I think some providers needed the kick in the pants this data gave them last year and these are obvious improvements.

These connections have always been sold as up to, frankly 90% of advertised bandwidth is pretty good for an internet connection historically. You didn't pay for a SLA, people need to stop pretending they did, not sure what this has to do with Romney though. I'm a liberal, but people need to be realistic with residential broadband.

In this case market forces seem to be working fine.

Mojo 77

@apexcovantage.com
How about you actually read the report before you mindlessly jump to the defense of your favorite corporations, Mitt? The report clearly shows ISPs are struggling at peak times to deliver advertised speeds. Particularly DSL providers.

There's improvement thanks to naming and shaming, but overall the report notes that just 4 of 14 ISPs actually deliver what they say they deliver. You have shit standards if you think thats "delivering what they promise to their customers."
bn1221

join:2009-04-29
Cortland, NY

Re: Struggling?? Except for Frontier - not true

80% of "max advertised" isn't really struggling. My speedometer goes to 160MPH but I doubt my car can even do 80MPH.

I'd rather have 50% of a 10 mbit segment than 150% of a 1 mbit link.

coldmoon
Premium
join:2002-02-04
Broadway, NC
Reviews:
·Windstream

Re: Struggling?? Except for Frontier - not true

said by bn1221:

80% of "max advertised" isn't really struggling. My speedometer goes to 160MPH but I doubt my car can even do 80MPH.

I'd rather have 50% of a 10 mbit segment than 150% of a 1 mbit link.

That is a straw man argument. Failure is failure whether you are 1 foot or 1 mile from your goal...
--
Returnil - 21st Century body armor for your PC

Mojo 77

@speakeasy.net

Re: Struggling?? Except for Frontier - not true

Seriously, is in any wonder the U.S. has some of the most expensive broadband anywhere and we still struggle to connect many places if some of this website's regulars are any example of the public thought process?

A report clearly shows ISPs are still failing to provide advertised speeds, and you've got people here who either deny the data or whose first thought is "golly I think failing to deliver what they promise isn't really considered struggling."

Where are all the smart and empathic people at this website hiding?

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Struggling?? Except for Frontier - not true

said by Mojo 77 :

A report clearly shows ISPs are still failing to provide advertised speeds...

They also advertise that those speeds are "up to" those speeds. And that they may be less than the "optimum" number. No promises. No guarantees.
--
»www.mittromney.com/s/repeal-and-···bamacare
»www.mittromney.com/issues/health-care

The Limit
Premium
join:2007-09-25
Greensboro, NC
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Windstream

Re: Struggling?? Except for Frontier - not true

...so you are saying that my seriously oversubscribed CO at home is within those limits? I don't think so. Why does Windstream give service credits if they are unable to provide?
--
"We will evaluate these integrals rigorously if we can, and non-rigorously if we must".
---Victor Moll, invited talk, Tom Osler Fest (April 17, 2010)
Cobra11M

join:2010-12-23
said by FFH:

said by Mojo 77 :

A report clearly shows ISPs are still failing to provide advertised speeds...

They also advertise that those speeds are "up to" those speeds. And that they may be less than the "optimum" number. No promises. No guarantees.

and that's where they messed up.., "UP TO" tell that to the tax payers 40 years ago that paid for the cable in the first place.. government sold it to private now its all messed up, regulation is need in this area more than ever, Just like theirs regulation in the wireless industry the cable co's need it to..

NormanS
I gave her time to steal my mind away
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-14
San Jose, CA
kudos:11
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET

Re: Struggling?? Except for Frontier - not true

said by Cobra11M:

... tell that to the tax payers 40 years ago that paid for the cable in the first place ... government sold it to private ...

Looks like a guy named Bob Magness used borrowed money to build a CATV system from scratch. When it went public in 1972, it became, "Tele-Communications, Inc." (aka, "TCI"). Did I not dig deep enough? What will I find rooting around the Internet for the histories of the other MSOs?
--
Norman
~Oh Lord, why have you come
~To Konnyu, with the Lion and the Drum
Aranarth

join:2011-11-04
Stanwood, MI
I guess it all depends on the size of your bomb... I use atomic weapons so I can miss by a mile...
bn1221

join:2009-04-29
Cortland, NY
Reviews:
·TowerStream
·Time Warner Cable

2 recommendations

So you work a full 480 minutes per 8 hour shift? I wish I was your manager so I could have an employee that understand working one less minute than a full 8 hour shift is theft.

How do you like the strict interpretation of the rules applied to you?

The Limit
Premium
join:2007-09-25
Greensboro, NC
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Windstream

Re: Struggling?? Except for Frontier - not true

That's not even a valid comparison, we have labor laws in place that allow so many breaks per eight hour shift. The work place is regulated. The broadband industry is not regulated. If you were his manager, you would be investigated by the Labor Board if you did this.
--
"We will evaluate these integrals rigorously if we can, and non-rigorously if we must".
---Victor Moll, invited talk, Tom Osler Fest (April 17, 2010)

coldmoon
Premium
join:2002-02-04
Broadway, NC
Reviews:
·Windstream
said by bn1221:

So you work a full 480 minutes per 8 hour shift? I wish I was your manager so I could have an employee that understand working one less minute than a full 8 hour shift is theft.

How do you like the strict interpretation of the rules applied to you?

I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I only worked for that short amount of time so I fail to see the relevance of your reply...
--
Returnil - 21st Century body armor for your PC

Mojo 77

@ecatel.net
Again, just FOUR of FOURTEEN ISPs are capable of delivering speeds they PROMISE IN ADVERTISING at peak times. That's struggling to meet their own standards, by any definition.
horseathalt7

join:2012-06-11
Reviews:
·DIRECTV

Re: Struggling?? Except for Frontier - not true

said by Mojo 77 :

Again, just FOUR of FOURTEEN ISPs are capable of delivering speeds they PROMISE IN ADVERTISING at peak times. That's struggling to meet their own standards, by any definition.

Exactly...

Yet the amusing thing here in this thread is how many erm...members seem rather desperate to defend the ISPs. Maybe they are PR people that work for those same ISPs. Naw that can't be!
StLCardsFan

join:2011-06-06
Lafayette, LA
Reviews:
·LUS Fiber
said by bn1221:

80% of "max advertised" isn't really struggling. My speedometer goes to 160MPH but I doubt my car can even do 80MPH.

I'd rather have 50% of a 10 mbit segment than 150% of a 1 mbit link.

this is not a good analogy at all. I don't expect a toyota yaris to go 160, but if i purchased a vette .. id expect it to go 160.

What the ISP's are doing is simple ..they are selling a perceived corvette speed that actually runs like a yaris.
Cobra11M

join:2010-12-23
said by FFH:

The majority of ISPs are meeting their advertised goals. The headline doesn't reflect the reality. The only ISP still needing much improvement is Frontier. The rest are delivering what they promise to their customers.

quote:
The first report noted that most ISPs delivered actual download speeds within 80 percent of advertised speeds. This year, the report found that most ISPs delivered speeds within 90 percent of advertised speeds
Does that sound like struggling? Looks more like quickly improving.

are you kidding me!, MOST ISP's AINT, suddenlink is one of them, sure they offer 10mbps and then when it gets night time wam your down to 3mbps... after so called "UPGRADES" I never had this issue till last week...

The Limit
Premium
join:2007-09-25
Greensboro, NC
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Windstream
Please see: QWEST and Windstream. Did you even look at the graph? Either you are interpreting the data wrong or you are refusing to see the data presented to you. This notion of "80%" is not what people are told when they sign up for the service. They expect to receive what they are paying for, barring technical topics such as overhead from different protocols etc. Most don't care about that stuff, they care about a service that just works. As long as people can surf the web, stream a movie or two without buffering, or download a file in a reasonable amount of time then they could care less.

ISPs know this and are willingly taking advantage of it. It should be made clear, not this "up to" stuff. This is why this industry needs regulation. OT, but if ISPs want to go down the metered billing road, and not guarantee a certain level of service that the customer expects, then they should be regulated like a utility. Plain and simple.
--
"We will evaluate these integrals rigorously if we can, and non-rigorously if we must".
---Victor Moll, invited talk, Tom Osler Fest (April 17, 2010)

Greg2600

join:2008-05-20
Belleville, NJ

Not a surprise

Why is this a surprise? These are businesses which have a simple model, gouge the consumer as deep as you can get away, providing as little as you can get away with.

Rob
In Deo speramus.
Premium
join:2001-08-25
Kendall, FL
kudos:3

Re: Not a surprise

said by Greg2600:

Why is this a surprise? These are businesses which have a simple model, gouge the consumer as deep as you can get away, providing as little as you can get away with.

While pumping millions of dollars back into their network, err, into lobbyists so protect their market so no other companies can compete with them.
--
CheckSite.us | YourIP.us | Reverseip.us
Cobra11M

join:2010-12-23

Re: Not a surprise

said by Rob:

said by Greg2600:

Why is this a surprise? These are businesses which have a simple model, gouge the consumer as deep as you can get away, providing as little as you can get away with.

While pumping millions of dollars back into their network, err, into lobbyists so protect their market so no other companies can compete with them.

+1, they stopped pumping millions.., sure they might still spend a few here and their but not like it was, the places that need upgrading badly they don't care about and rather just throw the people under the bus..

not to mention they don't wanna even mess with rural? after the billions of dollars tax payers have paid they rather see AT&T and Verizon take care of those customers.. but wait.. with the new plans its almost the same as satellite.. makes no sense..

NormanS
I gave her time to steal my mind away
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-14
San Jose, CA
kudos:11
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET

Re: Not a surprise

said by Cobra11M:

... after the billions of dollars tax payers have paid ...

I keep looking for the copies of the U.S. Treasury checks cut for the telcos, but never can find them. Perhaps you have them?
--
Norman
~Oh Lord, why have you come
~To Konnyu, with the Lion and the Drum
daake07

join:2011-06-28
Kearney, NE

Oh Frontier.

I've given up on Frontier. They have more outages than any company I deal with and their service is usually awful. I had one location with consistent 10% packet loss, they resolve the issue by lowering the packet size without telling customers thus causing several websites to not load until we found out they changed that.
I have another location that has had congestion for over 6 months and they've done nothing to resolve it. I called in every week for over 2 months, but they barely recognize the issue even exists.

I had Samknows set up at my previous apartment with Charter and I usually tested at 15.3/3.1....I was happy with that.

Ironically, I too have some Verizon DSL locations that are less than stellar...I'm glad I'm not the only one noticing their service is poor....wait a minute perhaps I'm being too hard on Frontier, they purchased the terrible service from Verizon.

coldmoon
Premium
join:2002-02-04
Broadway, NC
Reviews:
·Windstream

Re: Oh Frontier.

said by daake07:

I've given up on Frontier. They have more outages than any company I deal with and their service is usually awful. I had one location with consistent 10% packet loss, they resolve the issue by lowering the packet size without telling customers thus causing several websites to not load until we found out they changed that.
I have another location that has had congestion for over 6 months and they've done nothing to resolve it. I called in every week for over 2 months, but they barely recognize the issue even exists.

I had Samknows set up at my previous apartment with Charter and I usually tested at 15.3/3.1....I was happy with that.

Ironically, I too have some Verizon DSL locations that are less than stellar...I'm glad I'm not the only one noticing their service is poor....wait a minute perhaps I'm being too hard on Frontier, they purchased the terrible service from Verizon.

Lol - at least Frontier is consistently bad. Windstream goes from mediocre to bad and refuses to fix the issues in my area even through the problems have been going on for several years now...
--
Returnil - 21st Century body armor for your PC

A non

@151.190.0.x

Cablevision

The reason Cablevision exceeds their advertised speed is because they set the modem's cap at 147% of the advertised. The theory is that some people will get well above advertised speed and balance out the people who are far below advertised. This makes the average look good, but does little to help the people who are well below advertised.

I'm more annoyed at my upload, which is at only 77% of the modem's cap. Cablevision should be able to do better.
tmc8080

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

Re: Cablevision

said by A non :

The reason Cablevision exceeds their advertised speed is because they set the modem's cap at 147% of the advertised. The theory is that some people will get well above advertised speed and balance out the people who are far below advertised. This makes the average look good, but does little to help the people who are well below advertised.

I'm more annoyed at my upload, which is at only 77% of the modem's cap. Cablevision should be able to do better.

I'm seeing more like 119% or 59 megabits... not 73, and not 64... maybe this is happening on more of the 15 megabit tier as they either split nodes, or let these lower tier customers have docsis 3 modems. Always said Cv can do alot better on the upstream.. at least be reasonable ratios 3:1 4:1
Rekrul

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

Re: Cablevision

said by tmc8080:

I'm seeing more like 119% or 59 megabits... not 73, and not 64... maybe this is happening on more of the 15 megabit tier as they either split nodes, or let these lower tier customers have docsis 3 modems. Always said Cv can do alot better on the upstream.. at least be reasonable ratios 3:1 4:1

When I switched to Cablevision, I wasn't getting the speeds that they advertised. After calling to complain, they sent a couple techs out to test my speed, and the finally gave me a Docsis 3 modem. Now I usually get slightly above the advertised speed.

morbo
Complete Your Transaction

join:2002-01-22
00000

95% of advertised speed should be available

It is outrageous that most do not even touch the 100% threshold once.

djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VOIPO

Re: 95% of advertised speed should be available

A lot of DSL providers don't include ATM overhead in their advertising. On AT&T ADSL under perfect conditions the best you could hope for was around 83% of advertised.

What I find more interesting is that Comcast is nearly as "flat" as FiOS. Means they're doing a really good job of managing their peak capacity.

FiOS heavily over-provisions TV customers ("fluff") which is part of why they're so high up there.

-- Rob
--
AT&T U-Hearse - RIP Unlimited Internet 1995-2011
Rethink Billable.

morbo
Complete Your Transaction

join:2002-01-22
00000

Re: 95% of advertised speed should be available

False or misleading advertising claims need to be reigned with internet speeds. Companies should have to provide the service that is being advertising.

Fios and Comcast are both well managed networks.
Cobra11M

join:2010-12-23

grrr..

and yet... suddenlink isn't on the list... WTH
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Linked Article Charts

The linked article contains an interesting graph that taints the perceived success of those at the top. One of the charts shows only four providers of 30-50Mbps plans. In that chart, Verizon delivered 120% of their 35Mbps plan and Cablevision delivered about 115% of their 50Mbps rated speed plan.

If you press pause and think about that for a moment, 20% more of 35Mbps is 7Mbps more. 15% more of 50% is 7.5Mbps more. I'd call that a tie yet Verizon appears to be the winner because their bar is higher. Is this contest won by setting the bar low to guarantee more excess?

I'm sure I've said it before but as Mark Twain said, there are lies, damn lies and statistics.
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:1

Re: Linked Article Charts

No foul as far as I can see. Verizon's FiOS marketers did not believe there was going to be any real use or demand for speeds above 35Mbps symmetrical. The cable companies were supposed to have delivered about 37.5 Mbps down and 25 Mbps up using the old DOCSIS 2.0 system. It did not occur for lots of technical reasons. They only delivered about 25Mbps down and 2.5 Mbps up. When the got DOCSIS 3.0, they needed a marketing gimmick, so they came up with a 50Mbps down and 5 Mbps up tier. Easy to market and sell. Not a lot of pressure on the network engineers since they may only need to bond 4 downstream channels and 2 upstream channels to deliver that service reliably, which was only half of the capability of the typical 8x4 D3 modem.

So Verizon may use the capability of fiber to make sure the customer sees CONTENT downloading and uploading at the advertised speeds 100% of the time. Addressing and packet routing overhead may be handled by the "excess" provisioned speed. The customer is pleased.

Cablevision may have decided that the Verizon FiOS way is better than being hyper technical, and trying to explain to disappointed customers what network "overhead" is.

There is a Figure 4 PANELIST MIGRATION in the report that shows a 26.66% decline from those previously using 50+Mbps service tiers. Verizon might have been correct that customers were more concerned with getting much better upload than a massive increase in download.
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

1 edit

Re: Linked Article Charts

*sigh*

Thank you for the information. I don't think it addresses anything I said. Let me restate it. Given:

ISP A advertises 10Mbps $40/mo - configured max speed 30Mbps
ISP B advertises 30Mbps $40/mo - configured max speed 35Mbps

In service level charts, ISP A far exceeds their plan's published rate -- probably by 200% or more whereas ISP B meets their advertised rate 98% of the time.

1. Which ISP looks far better in reports like this?
2. Based on speed, value (not outages or latency) and these reports, can the consumer determine if there is any significant difference between the services?

I understand the FCC's intent is to keep ISPs honest. That's definitely a worthwhile goal and helps prevent less-than-ethical ISPs from misleading the public by advertising what they can never deliver. However, I think it's dangerous to draw conclusions about the relative superiority of an ISP based on how far above 100% they exceed their advertised plans.

If I was buying a car and Consumer reports publishes warranty repair rates. Per that chart 7% of A cars were returned to the dealer for warranty repairs and 3% of B cars. I immediately assume B cars are superior until I realize that A cars have a 100,000 mile warranty and B cars have a 60,000 mile warranty.

Without this information the consumer is inclined to believe superiority of one brand where none exists. Lies, damn lies and statistics.
SuperWISP

join:2007-04-17
Laramie, WY

Author's interpretation of report highly skewed

The author's interpretation of the report is highly skewed. He's treating "up to" claims as if they were bandwidth guarantees, which they are not.

He also fails to note that the report does not include WISPs, whose service is significantly better than that of telephone companies.

camper
Premium
join:2010-03-21
Bethel, CT
kudos:1

Why is the FCC doing this?

Doesn't the FTC usually investigate invalidate advertising claims?