The Best and Worst ISPs in America

Illustration for article titled The Best and Worst ISPs in America

Your ISP probably sucks. You don't need the FCC to tell you that. But a recent study conducted on behalf of the FCC reveals just how badly some of them suck. And the best ISP in America? Verizon FiOS.


The SamKnows study found that not only is FiOS meeting its speed claims, they're exceeding them (which is astonishing in the ISP world of bluster over substance). In a 24-hour sustained download speed test, FiOS tested at roughly 115 percents of its advertised speeds. When we're talking about 25Mbps and 35Mbps, that translates to speeds of 28.77Mbps and 40.42Mbps, respectively, which is smokin'. The second closest to living up to its advertised speed during peak times was Comcast, which only took a slight dip.

On the flip-side of that coin is the biggest loser (or the biggest liar, depending on how you look at it): Cablevision. During a 24-hour sustained download speed test, Cablevision averaged just 77 percent of its advertised speeds. That's pretty bad, but here's where it gets really dirty. When they looked at the peak period of 7pm-11pm Monday-Friday Cablevision drops to an average 54 percent of its claimed speeds. (Your best bet for more consistent service with Cablevision is to jump to its 30Mbps service, which fares a bit better.) Other ISPs stayed within 20 percent of their advertised speeds. Basically, your grandpa, with artificial hip, runs laps around Cablevision.

The full, 35-page study can be found here, but how long will it take your ISP to get it to you? [FCC, Image: Shutterstock/marema]

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Yeah - except Cablevision was pretty much neck-and-neck with Verizon Fiber when it came to sustained upload/download in a 24 hour period. I value this more since torrenting, video uploads/downloads and various other high-throughput operations matter more to me than how fast I can check my e-mail at 8pm on any given night.

For that, and considering Cablevision is cheaper that FiOS, readily available in my area (where FiOS is not), and relatively NOT bothersome (in terms of caps, throttling, copyright threats), I'll take Cablevision any day.