Comcast snags speed crown, Verizon slides in Ookla Q4 ’22 ISP ranking

Comcast finally made it to the top. After more than a year spent lingering in second or third place, the cable giant finally surpassed all its rivals to claim the fastest median download speed in Ookla’s Q4 2022 ranking of fixed broadband providers.

Ookla’s data showed Comcast’s Xfinity service delivered a median download speed of 226.18 Mbps in the quarter, sneaking past Charter Communications (225.33 Mbps) and Cox Communications (212.37 Mbps). The top three were followed by Altice USA’s Optimum service (190.82 Mbps) and AT&T Internet (187.08).

Verizon, which previously spent three consecutive quarters – Q3 2021 through Q1 2022 – in the number one spot, fell all the way to sixth place. While Comcast managed to boost its speed significantly from the median rate of 175.86 Mbps it posted in Q4 2021, Verizon’s actually fell from 201.10 Mbps to 183.25 Mbps over the same period. The cause for Verizon’s slide was unclear.

Across the 100 most populous cities in the U.S., AT&T was the fastest in 21, while Xfinity followed with 16, Spectrum 15 and Cox 10. Verizon was the fastest in nine with Allo, Buckeye CableSystem, Elite Fiber, Frontier, GCI, MetroNet, Rocket Fiber, Sonic, Sparklight, USI and Wyyerd each taking top honors in one major metro area. The rankings were too close to call in another 12 cities.

A year ago in Q4 2021, Charter was the fastest in 17, with AT&T and Cox each claiming top honors in 14, Comcast in 13 and Verizon in nine.

Upload importance

In terms of upload rates, fiber players including AT&T and Verizon dominated the rankings with median speeds of 142.76 Mbps and 104.89 Mbps, respectively. Cable’s upload speeds trailed dramatically, with Altice USA leading with 29.77 Mbps. Comcast followed with 20.42 Mbps, while Charter and Cox rounded out the top six with 11.77 and 10.71 Mbps, respectively. Of course, fiber providers have recently been pushing symmetrical speeds whereas cable operators by and large are still focused on asymmetrical offerings.

Brennen Smith, VP of Technology at Ookla told Fierce "With the rapid expansion of content creation and streaming, upload performance is becoming more and more important to consumer connectivity. People are looking to produce higher fidelity content, and upload performance and consistency serves as a bottleneck to creation. Upload performance is also critical for business cases such as video conferencing, remote work and edge data processing. Finally, for future connected experiences such as VR/AR and industrial IOT, consistent upload performance will be essential in bringing these new opportunities to reality."