Verizon’s FiOS eclipsed by Comcast in speed tests, but Google Fiber tops rankings

A new test of broadband speeds across the country showed that Verizon’s FiOS clocked in slightly behind Comcast’s Xfinity offering. However, both providers were far outpaced by Google Fiber, which offered speeds up to 353 Mbps.

The speed tests, reported by PCMag and based on readers’ results, are noteworthy considering the ongoing upheaval in the telecom space as cable operators running DOCSIS networks run up against fiber providers like Verizon and AT&T. In the meantime, upstarts like Google Fiber and other smaller players continued to push into the market with promises of blazing fast speeds.

First, and perhaps most notably, PCMag reported that Verizon lost its leading position to Comcast in the publication’s rankings this year, the first time this has happened since PCMag began reporting the rankings six years ago. Based on the publication’s findings, Comcast’s service outstripped Verizon’s by the smallest of margins: A slightly higher 49.6207 Mbps for Xfinity versus FiOS at 49.6201 Mbps.

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Those results could change based on actions by both Verizon and Comcast. Verizon, of course, recently sold off some of its FiOS operations to Frontier, while at the same time announcing plans to expand the service into Boston through a $300 million, six-year partnership with the city. Meanwhile, Comcast itself is working to upgrade its Xfinity network to the DOCSIS 3.1 network standard, a move that could eventually result in speeds to users of up to 1 Gbps.

Aside from the battle between two of the nation’s largest internet providers, a noteworthy mover on PCMag’s list was Suddenlink, which Europe’s Altice acquired late last year. The cable operator has been able to dramatically improve its speeds to users during the past year, moving from a ranking of eighth last year to a ranking of third this year with speeds of 47.8 Mbps.

To be clear though, the fastest provider by far measured by PCMag was Google Fiber, which currently operates service in a handful of markets and is working to expand into a handful more. According to the publication, Google Fiber provided the fastest internet speeds in the country – striking, considering reports indicate Google Fiber recently halved its workforce to 500 and is in the process of re-evaluating its buildouts in order to potentially make use of new wireless technologies.

PCMag’s results are based on a speed test the publication offers to readers through a web browser running Adobe Flash and JavaScript.

The findings by PCMag differed significantly from the findings of Netflix, which ranked providers based on the speeds they use to supply its video service. According to Netflix’s July rankings, Verizon’s FiOS came in first at 3.61 Mbps, followed by Bright House Networks (now owned by Charter Communications) at 3.59 Mbps, Charter’s Optimum at 3.55 Mbps and Cox at 3.55 Mbps.

For more:
- see this PCMag article

Related articles:
CenturyLink sinks to last place on Netflix's March ISP speed index
Speed test: FCC ranks the nation's wireline Internet providers

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