FCC Finds Mostly As-Promised Broadband Delivery Speeds But Also Evidence of Congestion


The FCC has released its 2014 Measuring Broadband America Report on Fixed Broadband, the fourth in a series of reports that were launched in 2011.  This latest report highlights several positive trends in broadband service as well as signs of network congestion issues at certain interconnection points.  The report’s findings include the following:

  • ISPs are largely delivering upload and download speeds as advertised, but there is still room for improvement in consistency of delivered speeds.
  • Download speeds vary by service tier with some ISPs delivering less than 80% of promised speeds, and upload speeds vary sharply.
  • Fiber and cable speeds continue to increase while DSL speeds lag.
  • Consumers continue to flock to higher speed tiers, with the average service tier increasing from 15.6 Mbps in 2012 to 21.2 Mbps in 2013.
  • Network congestion was found at certain interconnection points.

In a separate blog post the FCC’s Office of Engineering & Technology noted that though Internet traffic exchange (or interconnection) issues were not the focus of the report there was evidence of “notable anomalies,” including significant drops in broadband performance during a period when Internet backbone provider Cogent reportedly was having disputes with various ISPs.  The FCC has also announced that it will be separately releasing its congestion data for public review and analysis and that it is working to develop tools to assess how congestion issues affect consumer experience.

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