FCC Report Says Consumers Receive Half the Broadband Speeds They Paid For

fcc report says consumers receive half the broadband speeds they paid for comcast rulingAs more and more Americans use the internet daily, a wildly varying set of usage patterns arises. Thus the Federal Communications Commission’s latest broadband report [PDF], released this week, may be infuriating to some citizens while others may shrug and go on with their days.

According to the report, U.S. broadband customers in 2009 received approximately half the speed they paid for. The report says that broadband service providers on average advertised median download speed of 8Mb/sec, with the median advertised download speed falling at 7Mb/sec. They actually delivered an average speed of 3Mb/sec and a median speed of 4Mb/sec.

Legally there’s unlikely to be any repercussions to cable internet providers, as the FCC notes that most providers advertise speeds of “up to xxx Mb/sec”. That squirrely phrase certain seems to have the intent to mislead, but it likely would not qualify as false advertising, thus customers may not have legal recourse if their speed come up short.

The FCC says a variety of factors including account congestion, network efficiency issues, website performance, and other external bottlenecks can bog down internet speeds. Thus the slower-than-suggested speed may not be entirely the service provider’s fault.

To some users who download video games via services like Valve or buy digital copies of/stream movies these slower speeds may be frustrating (not to mention for customers who conduct slightly less legal downloading activities). However, many users who just use the web for email and news may find the existing speeds sufficient.

The FCC found that the 1 percent of users who used the most data, used 25 percent of the total bandwidth. And the top 10 percent uses 70 percent of the bandwidth. These numbers are reflected in the disparity between the average usage — 9 GB/month — and the median usage — 2 GB/month.

The FCC is working with service providers, consumer groups, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to provide a roadmap to improve the internet. Part of that roadmap will include a push from the FCC for service providers to advertise their average speeds, not their maximum speeds.

Other recent reports by the FCC indicate that not only is advertised speed an issue, but availability as well. The FCC is also looking to roll out a national offering of 100 Mb/sec broadband to 100 million U.S. homes, with the infrastructure installation funded by sales of wireless spectrum. Those plans are slowly advancing, though construction on the substantial necessary new infrastructure has not yet started.

Web

Can Microsoft’s Airband Initiative close broadband gap for 25M Americans?

A new report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that 25 million Americans do not have access to broadband internet. Of these, more than 19 million are living in rural communities. Can Microsoft help out?
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

Looking for flexible and inexpensive phone service? Check out our favorite MVNOs

Looking to switch from a major carrier to something a little more affordable? Luckily, there are a ton of great MVNO options to choose from. Check out our guide to the best MVNOs, from Boost Mobile to Google Fi.
Deals

Sign up for Verizon Fios Triple Play and get a free Amazon Echo, Prime for a year

Verizon is now offering its Fios Gigabit Connection Custom TV and Phone service with Amazon Prime tossed in. While valid, you can sign up for the company’s Triple Play package, which includes all three Fios services, for $80 per month.
Computing

Mining cryptocurrency for Razer Silver isn’t worth your computing power

Gaming peripheral maker Razer launched a cryptocurrency mining scheme called SoftMiner. You use its software to mine and in return, you get Razer Silver which you can use to buy Razer gear.
Computing

Microsoft’s latest patent paves the way for Andromeda dual-screen mobile device

The latest patent discovery from Microsoft showcases a new hinge design for quickly opening a dual-screen mobile device with a single hand. Could this be additional proof surrounding the rumors of the company's Project Andromeda device?
Computing

Nvidia’s Jetson AGX Xavier module is designed to give robots better brains

Nvidia's pricey Jetson AGX Xavier might help drive the next generation of smart robots. Nvidia hopes that developers will use its new Xavier module to power AI-driven machines like delivery drones and robots used in manufacturing.
Computing

Heal your wrist aches and pains with one of these top ergonomic mice

If you have a growing ache in your wrist, it might be worth considering changing up your mouse for something ergonomic. But which is the best ergonomic mouse for you? One of these could be the ticket to the right purchase for you.
Computing

These Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts will update your OG Windows skills

Windows 10 has many new features, and they come flanked with useful new keyboard shortcuts. Check out some of the new Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts to improve your user experience and save more time!
Computing

Leaked AMD Ryzen 3000 mobile benchmarks look fit for thin, low-power laptops

AMD is poised to give Intel a run for its money in the ultra-low-power processor space for laptops. Leaked benchmarks for the Ryzen 3000 APU series show the AMD processor besting Intel's Core i7 Y series in multicore performance.
Mobile

Apple is spending $1 billion to hire up to 15,000 new employees in Austin

Apple has announced a series of expansions across the U.S. -- including a massive expansion to the company's Austin campus that will see it spending $1 billion to accommodate for up to 15,000 new employees.
Computing

Will Windows 95 be reimagined? Microsoft’s tweet hints at a throwback

The classic Windows operating system may just be getting a reboot of its own. Microsoft tweeted a cryptic message involving the Windows 95 logo and saying that it had a special announcement for its customers today.
Computing

Microsoft Surface Pro 6: Everything you need to know

The Surface Pro 6 is officially here, though it's not as big of a redesign as you might have hoped. With a new coat of black paint and an 8th-gen processor, this is a small update. If you've been eyeing a Surface Pro, you may want to wait…
Computing

Style up your MacBook Air with one of these great cases or sleeves

Whether you’re looking for added protection or a stylish flourish, you’re in the right place for the best MacBook Air cases. We have form-hugging cases, luxurious covers and padded sleeves priced from $7 to $130. Happy shopping!