Verizon FiOS a catalyst for faster speeds...
A company by the name of ID Insight has released their list
of the nation's fastest broadband counties. At the top of the list sits Nassau County, NY, where users see a median download speed of 15 megabits per second and a median upload speed of 4.4 megabits per second. ID Insight says they're using a system called Broadband Scout, a broadband coverage tool they developed to sell to communities trying to get a portion of the $7.2 billion in broadband investment funds.
Not too surprisingly, there's a lot of areas in the top ten that Verizon has upgraded significantly with FiOS, which in turn prompts local cable operators to quickly upgrade to DOCSIS 3.0 technology. In Nassau and Putnam counties in New York, both are in the top five because of the speed competition occurring between carriers like Verizon, Cablevision, and Comcast -- all three of whom have dumped money back into the network in those markets. All three, not coincidentally, offer next-gen speeds between 50 Mbps and 100 Mbps downstream.
At the same time you'll note that you don't see many counties from more rural states like Maine or West Virginia, markets Verizon has either offloaded or in the process of offloading because they don't believe them to be profitable. You also won't see many states dominated by companies that are busily nursing last gen infrastructure (either because they can't afford to upgrade, or are putting investor fear above consumers and future proofing the network).
Of course if you compare this list to a list of the nation's wealthiest counties
you'll note the lists don't sync up particularly well. In part that's because while wealthy counties may have some very wealthy residents, it's counties where there's a litany of upper-middle classers packed into suburban sprawl where the real money's made. Carriers traditionally consider higher end housing developments the tastiest targets in terms of ROI.
There's several strange omissions from the list, including the entire state of California, and several cities in Utah served by municipal fiber to the home service.