FCC: Fiber and cable broadband providers improve speeds, but DSL needs improvement

U.S.-based broadband providers are improving their overall network performance, according to the FCC's fourth annual "Measuring Broadband America" report. But the report also said DSL is starting to lag behind.

On average, service providers delivered 101 percent of advertised speeds, a 4 percent increase from the same report in 2013.

"Average subscribed speed is now 21.2 Mbps, representing an average annualized speed increase of about 36 percent from the 15.6 Mbps average of 2012," the FCC said.

Perhaps not surprisingly, service providers such as Verizon (NYSE: VZ) that offer fiber to the home (FTTH)-based services saw the largest jump in broadband speeds.

Under its FiOS Quantum service banner, Verizon offers consumers a choice of bandwidth speeds that scale from 50/25 Mbps to 500/100 Mbps. The telco said that over "50 percent of all FiOS Internet customers subscribe to FiOS Quantum speeds."

The report also revealed how DSL providers were falling short of meeting the speeds they advertise. "Fiber and cable technologies continue to evolve to higher speed offerings, but DSL is beginning to lag behind: Additionally, while providers using cable and fiber access technologies generally met or exceeded their advertised tiers, providers using DSL technology generally failed to meet their advertised speeds," the FCC said in its report.

"While it's encouraging to see that in the past these reports have encouraged providers to improve their services, I'm concerned that some providers are failing to deliver consistent speeds to consumers that are commensurate to their advertised speeds," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. "As a result, I've directed FCC staff to write to the underperforming companies to ask why this happened and what they will do to solve this."

In addition to measuring home broadband speeds, the study also revealed network congestion at certain interconnection points during the study's reporting period. 

The FCC said it would take steps to better understand the issues that emerged, including "conducting analysis on the network impact on video service providers such as YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and others and requesting more information from ISPs and video providers about peering issues."

For more:
- see the release

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