Top U.S. Internet AccessHeadline Speeds Grew 10X Last 5 Years

Over the nearly-five-year period between 2011 and 2015, maximum advertised internet access speeds of the most-popular service tiers offered by U.S. internet access providers have increased from “12 Mbps to 30 Mbps” in March 2011  to “100-300 Mbps” in September 2015, a factor of 10 increase in less than five years.

Two important elements of that report are important.

Some might object that such “maximum advertised” speeds are not matched by actual end user experience. The Federal Communications Commission report on the subject says actual download speeds are 100 percent of advertised speeds, if not better.

But there is an important distinction: speeds improved the most on cable TV networks. In fact, some will rightly note that virtually the entire increase was driven by hybrid fiber coax networks operated by cable companies.

“While fiber based systems continue to have the highest weighted median speeds, cable based ISPs are driving the growth in new high speed service tiers,” the report states. In fact “the maximum advertised download speeds among the most popular service tiers offered by ISPs using cable technologies have increased from 12-30 Mbps in March 2011 to 100-300 Mbps in September 2015.”

“In contrast, the maximum advertised download speeds that were tested among the most popular service tiers offered by ISPs using DSL technology have, with some exceptions, changed little since 2011,” the FCC report notes.

Most popular advertised service tiers
Platform
Company
Speed Tiers (Download)
Speed Tiers (Upload)
DSL
AT&T DSL
1.5*
3
6
0.384
0.512
AT&T IPBB
3
6
12
18
24
45
0.384*
0.512
0.768
1
1.5
3
6
CenturyLink
1.5
3
7*
10
12
20
40
0.512
0.768
0.896
5
Frontier DSL
1
3
6
0.384
0.768
Verizon DSL
(0.5 -1)*
1.3-3
0.384 *
(0.384 - 0.768)
0.768*
Windstream
3
6
12
0.768
Cable
Optimum
25
50
101
5
25
35
Charter
60
100
4
Comcast
25
50
75
105
150
0.768
5
10
20
Cox
15
25
50
100
2
5
10
Mediacom
15
50
100
1
5
10
Time Warner Cable
15
20
30
50
100*
300
1
2
5
10*
20
Fiber
Frontier Fiber
25
5
10
25*
Verizon Fiber
25
50
75
25
35
50
75
Satellite
Hughes
5
10
1
ViaSat
12
3



Median speeds also are important, as they reflect the sort of “typical speeds” used by consumers. The FCC report says that “the median download speed, averaged across all participating ISPs, has almost quadrupled during this period, from approximately 10 Mbps in March 2011, to approximately 41 Mbps in September 2015.”
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