Internet service providers are patting themselves on the back after a recent study by the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Measuring Broadband America showed in its new report that ISPs are providing up to 97 percent of their advertised speeds during peak hours (7PM - 10PM). On average throughout the day, on a speedtest run, ISPs are delivering service at 106 percent of the advertised speed. Only one service greatly improved on its previous record — Frontier, by 13 percent.
Users are responding to that by moving toward high-speed services. These results are a marked improvement on the FCC's April 2012 report, which showed that ISPs were only meeting 87 percent of advertised download speeds during peak hours
The study included cable, DSL, fiber optics and satellite services. It covered 14 ISPs, which serve about 8-percent of homes and monitored 6,700 volunteer homes throughout September. Satellite did best, averaging 137 percent of its advertised speed (though it is more prone to be affected by latency, or the time delay in which the request message travels to the satellite and back). Fiber delivered at 116 percent, cable at 99 percent and DSL improved 1 percent to 85.
On average, 10 percent of all customers upgraded in the last six months, nearly half of that number from the 1-3Mbps range.
But the United States ranks at only 13th in the world when it comes to average Internet speed, clocking in at 5.8Mbps. Runner-ups Japan and Hong Kong average 9.1 while South Korea sits at a very distant first with 17.5Mbps. South Korea is a small country with areas of incredibly dense population, especially in cities such as Seoul; ISPs compete fiercely in the same arena, only gaining ground by improving service for less expense.
In contrast, companies in the United States have less incentive to perform on the same level: regions tend to be dominated by one or two ISP giants and manage to avoid competition that could drive prices down.