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Fixed Broadband: Coming Fast and Furious

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission has confirmed something cable operators could probably have already told it: Broadband speeds are getting faster; more speed is coming, thanks to DOCSIS 3.0; and ISPs are generally delivering — or over-delivering — on advertised broadband speeds.

The FCC last week released its fifth report on fixed broadband speeds, using information volunteered from cable operators and other Internet service providers. It found both “significant” growth in advertised broadband speeds and that, in most cases, ISP customers are getting close to or better than those advertised speeds.

The “Measuring Broadband America” report found that ISP speed offerings continue to get faster at a “rapid pace.”

The average maximum advertised speed across all participating ISPs was 72 Megabits per second as of September 2014, up a whopping 94% from 37.2 Mbps in September 2013. But while cable and fiber-based ISPs were usually meeting or beating that advertised price, DSL had not kept pace, and some continued to advertise speeds they did not deliver.

The FCC said that was largely due to cable’s deployment of DOCSIS 3.0 — the maximum advertised speeds for cable ISP downloads increased from a range of 12-20 Mbps in 2011 to 50-105 Mbps in September 2014.

The study is based on information provided by participating ISPs, which on the cable side included Comcast, Charter Communications, Cablevision Systems, Cox Communications, Mediacom Communications and Time Warner Cable.

Cablevision, Comcast and Mediacom all over-delivered on both upload and download speeds, while Charter, Cox and Time Warner Cable were all close to delivering on download speeds and met or exceeded upload speeds.

“The FCC has again recognized Cablevision’s Optimum Online as one of the fastest and most reliable broadband products in the nation, and the 2015 report affirms the consistency, quality and speed of our network,” Kristin Dolan, Cablevision’s chief operating officer, said following the report’s release.