US Internet Speeds Improve, Still Lag Behind Other Countries - InformationWeek

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US Internet Speeds Improve, Still Lag Behind Other Countries

Internet speed in the US has accelerated, and is poised to continue to do so, reports a new study by Speedtest.

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Internet speeds in the US have gotten faster in the first six months of 2016, but not quick enough to surpass speeds in other nations, according to a new report from Speedtest. is a global broadband speed test by Ookla, which specializes in speed testing and web-based network diagnostic apps. The site recently released its Speedtest Market Report, which sheds light on internet speed growth and top service providers.

Internet speeds in the US have accelerated during the first half of 2016, according to the company's data. The information came from Speedtest, which has hundreds of millions of users and hosts more than 8 million tests each day on both broadband and mobile.

[Study: Ransomware hit nearly 50% of businesses in 2015.]

Users with fixed broadband internet experienced the biggest increase as download speeds reached an average of more than 50 Mbps for the first time. The performance boost among fixed broadband customers marks an improvement of more than 40% since July 2015.

"Overall, the fixed broadband industry has seen consolidation, speed upgrades and, thankfully, growth in fiber optic deployments from upstarts like Google Fiber to industry titans like Xfinity and AT&T to other regional internet service providers," according to the Aug. 3 report.

According to the study, the 50 Mbps mark is more than enough for typical activity like web browsing and video streaming. However, 50 Mbps is only a small fraction of the speed that gigabit fiber optic internet offers.

The growth in fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) connectivity continued to grow throughout the US in 2015. Google Fiber began to offer service in Kansas City in September 2012. Service locations have expanded since then.

Among Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Xfinity was fastest in the US, boasting a top-tier download speed of 125.53 Mbps. While Xfinity has consistently had the fastest download speed over the past year, its upload speed is among the slowest of top providers at 15.26 Mbps. Verizon Fios has the fastest upload speed among US ISPs.

Despite the overall acceleration for average consumers, not all internet customers in the US have experienced the speed boost.

Speedtest cited a recent Broadband Progress Report from the US Federal Communications Commission, which discovered 10% of Americans do not have access to 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. This percentage grows to 39% for rural populations.

(Image: AVTG/iStockphoto)

(Image: AVTG/iStockphoto)

The report noted that internet speeds vary depending on users' location in the US. Only 4% of Americans in urban areas lack access to these speeds, which the FCC considers "target speeds," and the largest concentration of the US population lives in urban areas.

Mobile customers have seen improvement as speed has increased more than 30% since last year. The average download speed reached 19.27 Mbps in the first six months of 2016.

Speeds accelerated as major mobile carriers Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint competed to attract new customers with faster download speeds and lower prices. T-Mobile is the fastest mobile carrier in the US, the report stated.

Going forward, Speedtest anticipates optimists can expect to see an annual 40% growth in fixed broadband performance and 30% increase mobile internet performance.

However, skeptics can note current speeds in the US are still slower than those in other countries. The US ranks 20th in fixed broadband and 42nd in mobile internet performance, around the world, as noted by GeekWire.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Ninja
8/6/2016 | 10:05:57 AM
Faster, but still grossly overpriced
Yes, speeds got a bit faster, but in international comparison, access to US Internet service is still grossly overpriced. That applies to landlines and especially to mobile access. With exchange rates and everything else taken into account US service is two to three times more expensive and half as fast as in most other countries. Even more so, there are still huge regions in the US where cell service is spotty and Internet access is either expensive satellite based service or dial-up. Yes, the 56k dial-up modem connection is still used by over 2 million Internet users in the US...and those are the ones who are willing to suffer through this.

None of that is a surprise. Look at all the other infrastructure that is decades old, installed in the cheapest way possible, and in comparison to other industrialized nations incredibly unreliable. Water and sewer lines across the country are in the worst state, many of those date back to the end of the Civil War and are way past their life span. Given that, Internet access is top shelf in comparison.
User Rank: Apprentice
8/4/2016 | 8:34:30 PM
ISP's laugh all the way to the bank
Lets be honest, the ISP's in the US could easily provide fast internet speeds to all, they "tier" the pricing, you want slow, here is the price, a little faster, here is the price, fast, hold on to your wallets that is expensive. It's all the American way, Corporations draining as much money from you as they can to boost the bottom line. Same with electric power, Tesla wanted to provide free energy to all, the banksters pulled funding because they can't make any money on free.
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