Uncommon Wisdom

Aug 18 2010   12:54PM GMT

FCC broadband report: Who’s got the speed?

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

The FCC has released a report on broadband speeds, and the results are unsurprising. Users get perhaps half the speeds advertised by their ISPs. A small number of users (6%) consume a big chunk of the total broadband capacity, so the median total bytes downloaded is less than a quarter of the average.

Perhaps the major “policy” finding was that about 80% of the use profiles that were identified demanded no more than 4 Mbps, so it’s possible the FCC is taking some steps to justify a target speed for “universal” broadband falling somewhere in that range.

The discrepancy between advertised and experienced speeds comes from a variety of factors, according to the report, and it’s not possible to say that ISPs are deliberately “oversubscribing” the service to create congestion in the access line. In fact, we agree that home configuration is a major reason for the experience difference, and we think that congestion at the server level for content is another.

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