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Survey says: Fastest ISPs are Cox, Comcast, Charter

Thu, 09/01/2011 - 8:35am
Brian Santo

Fastest ISPs Nationwide - CLICK TO ENLARGEThe three fastest Internet service providers (ISPs) in the land are all MSOs: Cox Communications, Comcast and Charter Communications, in that order.

But before the cable industry starts crowing, note that Verizon's score lumps FiOS in with DSL; pull out Verizon DSL, and FiOS kicks everyone's butts.

This is all according to PC Magazine, which calculated overall scores based on user tests (via Speedtest.net), combined all broadband service available from each individual ISP, and took into account both download and upload speeds.

Cox, Comcast and Charter all exceeded 18 Mbps for downloads in PC Magazine's calculations.

FiOS speeds, however, are as high as 35 Mbps up and down in some areas, the magazine noted, adding that FiOS has won its Readers' Choice Award for several years running.

Among the three MSOs topping the evaluation, Cox had the best upload speed of the three, with an average of 4.8 Mbps. The scoring system provides much more weight to download speeds than upload speeds (80 percent to 20 percent), but Charter is third overall, largely because its average upload rates are lower than Cox's and Comcast's.

The scoring system also does not provide much weight to the ability to provide temporary speed increases (e.g., Comcast's PowerBoost) that some ISPs are able to provide.

Time Warner Cable is represented by Road Runner. There simply wasn't enough data compiled from Bright House Networks' customers to include. Cablevision's Optimum service scores better than Bresnan (aka Optimum West), but that's why Cablevision is embarking on a program to upgrade the old Bresnan systems.

The magazine also provided a "Bang For Your Buck" calculation – dollars per Mbps, across multiple countries, and also among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. On a global basis, the U.S. ranked 29th, at a median cost of $5.48/Mbps.

Costs vary widely within the U.S., however, from a low of $2.66/Mbps in South Dakota to more than $11/Mbps in Iowa, Alaska and D.C.

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