In a new report on the Wall Street Journal, it was revealed that for many people in the United States, paying a premium for high-speed internet doesn’t necessarily guarantee the advertised speeds. The journalists relied on data from Ookla’s Speed Test to see how the advertised speeds stacked up against the speeds that customers were actually dealing with.
After examining data from 800 cities and 27 internet service providers (ISPs), the Wall Street Journal found that some companies–namely AT&T Uverse and Verizon Internet Services–provide speeds that are far lower than the speeds people are paying for. Granted, this doesn’t appear to be illegal since the advertised speeds are generally “peak” speeds, but it is still misleading.
On the other hand, some ISPs–Charter, Earthlink, and others–actually posted higher Speed Test results that the figures that people are paying for.
Whether or not this data is entirely accurate can be disputed as it is known that some ISPs boost speeds when someone is doing a run on Speed Test. They do this by “traffic shapping” which can also be used for the opposite reason, to slow down traffic for Netflix or BitTorrent.
Alongside the data for individual ISPs, the article also looked at how internet speeds in cities differs around the country. In some places–Santa Maria, CA and Trenton, NJ–the average speed was higher than what people were paying for.
However, in more cities, the speeds were significantly lower–as much as 50%–than the advertised figure. Some of the worst places were Idaho Falls and Odessa, Texas. The data definitely makes sense given the prominence of some of the worst ISPs in the areas that had below advertised Speed Test results.
This is far from shocking information, as many people have complained throughout the years in regards to the speeds that they are receiving compared to what they are paying for. Most of the time, the ISPs do nothing to fix the issue and simply suggest that all of their customers have a bad setup or they provide another foolish response.
Question – Does your ISP give you what you pay for?
Summary: The Wall Street Journal–with the help of data from Ookla’s Speed Test–has found that most ISPs don’t provide speeds anywhere near the advertised speed.
image credit: wallstreetjournal