US Median Broadband Speed 30 Times Slower than Japan's While Market Softens

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Zanthexter

Comcast offers "PowerBoost" which goes "up to 16Mb". This invalidates the speed test results of sites like www.SpeedMatters.org because they don't send enough data to measure the actual sustained transfer rates. So "real world" average speeds across the nation are likely lower.

I wanted to point out that while this is probably helpful for web sites, it's a lot more helpful for Comcasts advertising department because they are able to claim a speed "up to" something that is beyond what customers will get for anythng that really needs it. A 200k web site isn't likely to see much benefit (what a 10th a of a second?) between the actual plan speed of 5Mb and the short burst to 16Mb, whereas downloading that new 133MB 1080p Dark Knight trailer http://pdl.warnerbros.com/wbmovies/thedarkknight/trailer_3/DKTRL3_1080.wmv.zip certainly could use some extra zoom.

In fact while www.SpeedMatters.org shows my tested speed as around 30Mb, downloading the trailer gets me an actual speed of "only" around 8Mb. And trust me, I am very grateful for it because it's a configuration error on Comcasts part (I should only be getting around 5Mb according to my plan!) and because I regularly need to download pretty large files for work and study reasons, (Technet not PirateBay thank you! :) not to mention World of Warcraft updates and the occasional 133Mb movie trailer.

I'd be interested in learning how PowerBoost affects the numbers of a site like www.SpeedMatters.org, and whether or not it has a real world affect on the average persons internet use. DNS lookups can make a bigger difference in how fast a web site loads than throughput for a lot of people. Maybe comparing a heavy Flash and media rich site like http://thedarkknight.warnerbros.com/ to http://news.google.com/.

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Zanthexter

Comcast offers "PowerBoost" which goes "up to 16Mb". This invalidates the speed test results of sites like www.SpeedMatters.org because they don't send enough data to measure the actual sustained transfer rates. So "real world" average speeds across the nation are likely lower.

I wanted to point out that while this is probably helpful for web sites, it's a lot more helpful for Comcasts advertising department because they are able to claim a speed "up to" something that is beyond what customers will get for anythng that really needs it. A 200k web site isn't likely to see much benefit (what a 10th a of a second?) between the actual plan speed of 5Mb and the short burst to 16Mb, whereas downloading that new 133MB 1080p Dark Knight trailer http://pdl.warnerbros.com/wbmovies/thedarkknight/trailer_3/DKTRL3_1080.wmv.zip certainly could use some extra zoom.

In fact while www.SpeedMatters.org shows my tested speed as around 30Mb, downloading the trailer gets me an actual speed of "only" around 8Mb. And trust me, I am very grateful for it because it's a configuration error on Comcasts part (I should only be getting around 5Mb according to my plan!) and because I regularly need to download pretty large files for work and study reasons, (Technet not PirateBay thank you! :) not to mention World of Warcraft updates and the occasional 133Mb movie trailer.

I'd be interested in learning how PowerBoost affects the numbers of a site like www.SpeedMatters.org, and whether or not it has a real world affect on the average persons internet use. DNS lookups can make a bigger difference in how fast a web site loads than throughput for a lot of people. Maybe comparing a heavy Flash and media rich site like http://thedarkknight.warnerbros.com/ to http://news.google.com/.

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Asterixx

I live in rural Nova Scotia and until about 6 months ago I was suffering the internet on dialup because it was the only game in town (well, satellite was available, but after a brief trial period I decided it wasn't worth the $800 upfront cost plus $100/month for 1Mb/sec service that was actually more like 0.1Mb/sec). Now I've got fixed wireless. It's advertised at 2Mb/sec down and up, and speedtest.net consistently verifies it.

 Why do I mention this? Because even though it's expensive ($49.99/month) and not particularly reliable (but still 500X better than satellite), and even though it's only a mediocre speed, I'm happy to have it. 2Mb/sec seems like 100Mb/sec when you're used to a dialup connection that can only muster ~40kb/sec and ties up a phone line. I used to dread "patch Tuesday" because it'd almost be the next "patch Tuesday" before my dialup connection was finished downloading the updates. I do wish that cable would come through here, but given that it's 40 miles to the city that ain't likely to happen soon. My only hope is that wireless technology improves, something that is almost certain to happen...

 I do find it hard to believe that Canada would average better than the USA. You guys down there think the competition is bad, well in Canada it is pretty much non-existant. In each area there are but two choices: Phone company or cable company. I see the commercials on American TV all the time offering speeds we Canucks can only dream of for prices we can only drool over. FIOS? What's that? Not in Canada.

 It's even worse for cell phones. Bell, Telus or Rogers. That's about it. If you go with an alternative (such as Virgin) you're still riding the Big Three's towers.  Got a smart phone? Prepare to pay through the nose. An Apple iPhone ($299, Rogers) will require a data plan ($20/month for 6 GB data) on top of your normal cell plan (average for a typical person $35/month PLUS $8 system access fee PLUS $3 911 fee PLUS $5/month for caller ID). Because there is no competition all of the major carriers charge all of these extra fees. The minor carriers may not charge them, but offer reduced services (such as no roaming).

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Keith E. Whisman

The reason why our cell phone market so many other markets like broadband speeds trail is because we are willing to pay through the nose for lesser products than what the rest of the Western and Asian world is used to. For hobbies we fish and fly kites while the japanese make robots. How can we compete with that? We need to live in the 21st century and live like we are in the 21st Century. Where is my R2 unit and my flying car? Why are'nt we pressuring the companies that provide us servises like ISP's to do better? They need to be afraid of losing money if they don't provide better servises. Where is the competition to do better in the ISP buisness that just barely exsists in the CPU and GPU markets? There is only really Two players in the CPU market and there is really only two players in the GPU market and look at the competition to out do each other. There are alot of ISP's why are'nt they fighting it out and trying to out do each other. Come on all I see on TV is the so so fast cable and the so so fast DSL providers talk about how much better they are than the other. Rather than actually making their service any better or upgrading their service. In Phoenix 1.5mbs is $44.95 a month with Cox cable.

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Nogoodname

canada doesn't have better broadband because in my area
(BC, Okanogan) we pay 40$ for about 250-300 kps at the best, normally
it is less like 150 kp.(download speeds)

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Marcus_Soperus

Thanks for the Kbps vs Mbps correction (now in the article) - and for the feedback.

I'm lucky to live in an area that offers two cable services as well as DSL (plus satellite). I went with Insight rather than Wowway! (formerly SIGECOM) here because of speed and reliability (although they really blew it for several days last year when they were going through a huge infrastructure upgrade).

As far as the suggestion that SpeedMatters' estimate was being pulled down by a lot of dial-up users - according to SpeedMatters.org, most of the test data they used for their media broadband speed estimate came from broadband, not dial-up, users.

Speaking for myself, I'd really like to see "broadband" redefined as at least 2Mbps. There's precedent for it: a few years ago, when ISDN was the fastest telco offering, "broadband" was defined as at least 128Kbps (the speed of two 64Kbps ISDN lines running in a channel-bonded mode). Changing the meaning of the word "broadband," by itself, wouldn't speed up anything, but it would put some pressure on vendors of low-end services to either speed up their base offerings or stop calling them "broadband." These days, we need much more speed than even two or three years ago to cope with the rich-media (and getting richer all the time) web.

It's amazing how illogical a business built on binary logic can be.

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horzo

until I moved to an area with no DSL availability and had to go cable. Suffice to say, my mind has been changed. It's hard to argue with 6-8Mb down and rock-solid stability. My DSL used to require a modem power-cycle every couple of weeks, whereas cable service has never gone down in the two years I've been using it.

Yes, it's overpriced and there is no real competition, but I don't expect that situation to last for long. AT&T is rolling out fiber to more and more neighborhoods and offering high-speed broadband/TV packages. The prices will come down.

 

 

 

 

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Digital-Storm

There is absolutly no competition here for DSL in Michigan. If you are getting DSL from another company. They are leasing the lines from AT&T anyways, so you might as well just get AT&T DSL. AT&T owns all the telephone lines in michigan... Comcast is the other option, but many people do not want to get comcast for some odd reason.

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guoruiwu1994

well at least the us doesn't have a 2GB(two) per month bandwidth. (download + upload). Like here in canada.

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vodomustng2000

Here is a nice site to test your download/upload speed... www.speedtest.net

 

"He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever."

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Nogoodname

for me it says that i get 1300 kps but then i download stuff it is actually is about 160 kps, so maybe where is something wrong with the results (i used three different servers about the same result)

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sirphunkee

the difference is bits/bytes.  160 KiloBYTES (what you see in your download client) = 1280 kiloBITS what you see on speedtest).  8 bytes = 1 bit.  I'm guessing you have a 1.5Mb DSL connection, and it looks like you're getting 1.3 of that (which is common).

just please don't ask why your hard drive didn't come with all the free space it said it would ;)

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Nogoodname

Forgot about the 8bit=1 byte part

thanks for clearing it up because i was already worring that something was wrong

and i know why i have only 148 or so GB then it said that i would have 160 GB (MS=1024kb=1mb, HD manufactors=1000kb=1mb)

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thefloyd

I have Qwest DSL here in AZ. I pay for 7Mbs service, but I only get 5Mbs because according to Qwest thats the best they can give me in my area.  I suppose I'd be better off with cable, but then I'd have to buy in to the whole package deal with the digital cable and whatnot in order to pay even close to the same amount as I do now.

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SysAnalyst

Considering my FiOS U/L speed is only about 5Mbps, I assume the median upload speed in the US wasn't supposed to be 435Mbps, but instead 435Kbps, right? 

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Redace42

What the real problem here is, is we still have a wide group of manly old people using dial up service, with it ridiculously slow speeds, which is bring down the national average. Which is perfectly fine because they are manly just reading email and news at most. I get 100mbps for around $29.99 a month where i live. So let our AVERAGE be low as long the faster speeds are available for the people that want them than why does it matter?

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mikeart03a

I really do find this funny, I thought broadband availability was higher in the US than here in Canada. There's also a lot more competition too in the US. In my area all we have is 2 major providers, Bell and Videotron (3 if you count Shaw/Cogeco pfft...), and from what I can see our mainstream 'high speed' offerings usually sit about 3-7mbps where as 'ultra high speed' sits at about 7-15mbps and usually cost an arm and a leg... let's not go on about 'extreme' packages...

Videotron's Service Plans - http://www.videotron.com/services/en/internet/comparaison.jsp
Bell's Service Plans - http://www.bell.ca/shopping/PrsShpInt_Access.page?userType=NEW

- mike_art03a
IT Technician
Gov't of Canada

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yagisencho

I have the very best service I can get at my residence, which unfortunately is 1.5Mbps/down, 256Kbs/up (via Clearwire). I'd been using DSL @ half those speeds until this past June.

Verizon has been promising FiOS for a couple years now, but they refuse to run it from the street to our house (~100 feet).

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GIJames

some corporation ran fiber optics all over West Hartford once upon a time, but they are useless because verizon or another company doesn't provide internet access through them.

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PhynaeusClaw

Think about the population of Japan, Canada, Finland and the others compared to the US. I understand that our "pipes aren't wide enough" but what about the sheer number of pipes in the US vs. those other countries. I bet we have an assload more overall bandwidth divided up among a hell of a lot more people than in those other countries.

Does it need improvement? Yes.

But don't necessarily knock the US for thinking we're at the top of the heap. We're just not on top where it counts...

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Aljebra_0424

I can easily give you reasons.

 

#1.  The price is going up and up.  In most major markets there is zero competition.  So, Time Warner Cable, for example in my area, charges $50 a month.  Yet, Dish Netowrk and DirectTV and even DSL from the phone company cost much, much less.  Granted there are issues dealing with a satellite and use of a phone line.  However, really cable is best for hardcore gamers needing a consistant connection with minimal lagtime.

 

#2. Time Warner Cable requires us here to purchase the 'Digital Cable package', thus making us buy into a huge amount of channels most of my family never watches.  We cannot get cable internet without getting digital cable channels.

 

#3.  Justify a high end cable (costing over $50) vs cheap $20 DSl, to mom and dad who really only need to use the net for surfing.   You can run a webcam off dsl, yes although lag, but we tolerate it.  While you are at it, justify getting even faster internet for downloading music, or even playing that game of Peggle on Msn.

 

#4.  Finally...toleration.  We tolerate average quality for sake of cost.  We will get a $5 pizza from Little Caesars vs a $15 pizza from Dominos.  We have students in schools looking for the easiest way to pass a class with a 70% vs trying to get every problem correct.  We tolerate eating $1 Wendy's Double Hamburgers now after they are removing the cheese from them.  We won't pay extra for cheese.  On top of that, we tolerate eating American cheese at most restaurants.  Most people know American Cheese isnt real cheese. So, we tolerate low quality cable, and will not pay for an infrastructure to improve it.  Why should we right?  It works now, its slower than everyone else, but hey it works. 

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PhynaeusClaw

When did Domino's become quality pizza?

 In my area, you don't have to by any cable to get RoadRunner from TimeWarner, but you'll save some money if you do.

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Digital-Storm

Domino's Pizza is really good where I live, it just cost an arm and a leg compared to a 5 dollar pizza. After all, I do live where Domino's Pizza was born.

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Vegan

What's sad is that people here in the U.S. think that our broadband is totally awesome. These companies have no incentive whatsoever to upgrade.

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schinkinatror

yeah i live in the middle of nowhere and dont feel like paying the ridicoulos price for a service that isnt even offered in my area. By the way 435Mbps did u mean Kbps or are uploads always blazing along at Mach 20.

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festiva_man

I have Charter Broadband internet and this article almost made it sound good.  Since there is literally no competition in the Market here i pay $66 a month for the 5mbps.   Still waiting for DSL out here bc satellite internet is the same price.

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