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Cedar Falls Utilities Tops PC Mag List of Fastest ISPs

Tiny municipal broadband service Cedar Falls Utilities is the fastest internet service provider in the country, trouncing the competition with an average score of 1,350.4, more than three times its closest competitor, according to PC Magazine’s annual list of the fastest ISPs in the nation. Verizon Communications' Fios internet service and Comcast's Xfinity placed first and second among major ISPs, with scores of 174.5 and 136.0, respectively.

PC Magazine ranks providers based on the number of consumers that test the upload and download speeds of their residential service on the PC Magazine website, which then assigns a weighted PC Magazine Speed Index (PSI) number to each provider. The PSI number incorporates download speeds (about 80%) and upload speeds (20%) as well as location and the amount of jitter/latency on the connection. The magazine ranks providers on a national and regional basis.

Cedar Falls Utilities has been offering broadband service to Cedar Falls, Iowa residents and businesses since 1996. An offshoot of the municipal gas, water and electric utility that was formed in the area (population: 39,000) in 1914, the service upgraded to fiber-to-the-home in 2011, giving it the capacity to offer Gigabit speeds. 

According to PC Magazine, Cedar Falls Utilities score was the highest it has ever seen. 

“If you're looking to relocate to work from home and want the best internet you may ever experience, consider becoming an Iowan,” PC Magazine said in its ranking.

Verizon topped the list of major ISPs for the seventh out of the past eight years. And though its score of 174.5 was lower than the prior year, it easily bested the competition. Comcast’s Xfinity had the biggest improvement, increasing its score from 102.3 last year to 136.0 this year. Rounding out the major ISP rankings were RCN (126.1), AT&T Fiber (112.2), Cox Communications (107.1), Optimum (106.9), Suddenlink (104.5), Spectrum (94.6), AT&T Internet (91.5) and Mediacom (85.0).

Regional winners were:

North Central (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin): Cedar Falls Utilities (1,350.4)

North East (Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and West Virginia): Suddenlink (181.9)

North West (Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming): NextLight (340.6)

South Central (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas): Google Fiber (277.9)

South East (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee): Hotwire (473.8)

South West (Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and California): Sonic (415.5)