Can Regulators Boost Internet Access Speeds by Enabling Cable TV Competition?

source: Ofcom
With the caveat that there are many institutional and historical processes at work, one supply-side policy communications regulators can implement--or should have implemented--is legalizing and aggressively supporting deployment of cable TV networks.

That appears to lead not only to more competition in a market, but also seems to lead to higher overall Internet access speeds.

Likewise, one demand-side development that has helped spur speed upgrades, as well as deployment footprint, is the triple-play bundle pioneered by cable TV companies.

Such are the conclusions one might draw from recent Internet speed tests in the United Kingdom, where Virgin Media, if not ubiquitous, passes about 44 percent of U.K. homes.

One data point: a recent speed test shows Virgin Media providing the fastest downstream speeds, compared to Internet service providers using the BT wholesale network.

In those tests, Virgin Media speeds in the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. portion of the day were 79 percent faster than BT’s speeds in the same time period, using one test methodology.

In another test, Virgin Media was more than twice as fast as BT in the 7 a.m. time period.

In the 6 p.m. to 3 p.m. period, Virgin Media was either 46 percent faster or twice as fast, depending on test method.

Peak and Off-Peak Download Speed Tests Results September 2016
tbbx1 Test
(1 download)
httpx6 Test
% difference
% difference
24.8 Mbps
23.9 Mbps
21.8 Mbps
21.2 Mbps
14.2 Mbps
13.2 Mbps
14.4 Mbps
13.6 Mbps
23 Mbps
21.6 Mbps
18.7 Mbps
18.5 Mbps
15.3 Mbps
14 Mbps
13.9 Mbps
12.5 Mbps
14.7 Mbps
13.1 Mbps
13.8 Mbps
13.3 Mbps
Virgin Media
44.6 Mbps
34.9 Mbps
52.6 Mbps
44.5 Mbps

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