ISPs Make Good on Bandwidth Promises (More or Less)

Does your broadband connection seem a bit faster lately? If so, it’s not a fluke. Many ISPs are delivering speeds that are close to, or even exceeding, the download speeds they’ve advertised, according to a report by the Federal Communications Commission. A few of the big ones, unfortunately, continue to lag.

Most startling was the huge improvement by Cablevision, which now delivers an average of 126 percent of its advertised speed, compared to just 76 percent last year.

“Almost across the board, the July 2012 Report shows that ISPs are doing a better job of delivering what they promise to their customers today than they did a year ago,” the commission concluded. Why the improvement? More investment in network capacity by the ISPs, the FCC says. 

However, that "almost" glosses over significant underperformance from two of the largest Internet service providers, AT&T and Verizon. AT&T improved by four percentage points and now delivers 89 percent of advertised speeds. Verizon, which has talked about abandoning its copper DSL network in favor of fiber, saw its service deteriorate from a robust 115 percent last year to 89 percent this year. 

It’s important to note that tested speeds are averaged over an entire week and generally slow down significantly during peak periods. And because download speed is affected by numerous factors, your own connection may be much slower than average.