Is Your Internet Provider Holding You Back?

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Do you ever feel like you’re paying way too much for a slow Internet connection?  A new report released by the Federal Communications Commission breaks down actual vs. advertised broadband performance by company to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions and find out which companies deliver, and which fall short.

The nationwide study of home broadband performance, which the FCC claims is the first of its kind, found that 80% of consumers did not know what supposed connection speed they were paying their internet service provider (ISP) for. Additionally, 49% of consumers inaccurately reported the type of broadband package that they believed they had purchased. 

The findings prompted the agency to undertake initiatives to help improve the availability of data regarding broadband services for consumers.

“The purpose of the Consumer Broadband Test is to give consumers additional information about the quality of their broadband connections across their chosen ISPs’ networks and to increase awareness about the importance of broadband quality in accessing content and services over the Internet,” the report states. The nation-wide study will effectively enable consumers to compare the performance of different broadband packages with a whole new level of detail and accuracy. The report also points out that the study can serve as a tool to help broadband providers measure and disclose accurate information regarding the performance of their broadband services.

The study, conducted from February to June of this year, measured both average upload and download performance during a 24-hour period and during peak usage periods across major ISPs. Most delivered download rates within 20% of advertised speeds, with slight declines during peak times. Nearly all ISPs delivered upload speeds within 10% of their advertised rates, even during peak periods. 

Nonetheless, the study found considerable variation among the ISPs tested, with some even outperforming their advertised rates.

So which ISPs did the FCC find were providing at their advertised rates, and which were failing to do so? Verizon (Stock Quote: VZ) came out the frontrunner, with its fiber-optic services delivering 112% of advertised rates. Comcast (Stock Quote: CMCSA) was also one of the top performers, providing at 106% of advertised rates. Cablevision (Stock Quote: CVC) and Frontier (Stock Quote: FTR) were the worst performers, delivering only 60% and 67% of advertised speeds, respectively. The study should come as a relief to anyone who thought their computer was keeping them from lightning-fast connections. Before investing in a new computer, it would be wise to browse the report and contact your ISP for connection information.

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