Verizon slightly tops Cablevision for FCC's top broadband spot

Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) FiOS FTTH broadband service beat Cablevision (NYSE: CVC)--slightly--in the Federal Communications Commission's latest Measuring Broadband America Report. According to report statistics, Verizon advertised 15 Mbps FiOS Internet package actually delivered peak period speeds of 19.39 percent, meaning it delivered 129 percent of its advertised speed. This beat Cablevision's 19.14 Mbps, which was 128 percent of its advertised 15 Mbps speeds.

The findings "reaffirm the results from the 2011 report, which found that FiOS provides blazing-fast and sustained upstream and downstream speeds even during peak usage periods," Mike Ritter, Verizon's chief market officer for consumer and mass market business, said in a company statement after the results were announced.

This is the commission's second Measuring Broadband America report. In the year since the first report's issuance in August 2011, broadband providers improved their promised performance, from 87 percent of advertised download speed during peak bandwidth demand periods, to 96 percent. A second major finding is that the average subscribed speed tier increased, from 11.1 Mbps, to 14.3 Mbps, the commission said in a news release.

Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) (103 percent) also exceeded its promises but a couple telcos CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) (89 percent) and Frontier (Nasdaq: FTR)  (79 percent) were found wanting. The service providers' technology of choice was a big differentiator, "although both cable and DSL technologies improved this year and are now more similar to fiber technology in their ability to deliver advertised speeds than they were in 2011," the report said.

"DSL on average meets 84 percent of advertised download speed during peak periods, compared to 82 percent last year; cable meets 99 percent, up from 93 percent," according to the report. The big differentiator though, and why FiOS did so well, is "fiber-to-the-home (which) increased slightly, from 114 percent of advertised speeds in 2011 to 117 percent of advertised speeds in 2012," the report said.

The commission, in its news release, cited the better broadband performance as "a positive indicator that the U.S. market is moving toward the goal, set out in the NBP (National Broadband Plan, that at least 100 million homes should have affordable access to actual download speeds of at least 50 Mbps by 2015 and 100 Mbps by 2020."

According to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, the comission's broadband vigilance is greatly responsible for the improvements.

"We've identified bad conduct and imposed record-breaking penalties. We've adopted rules to protect consumers. And we've worked with the industry to develop tools to help consumers avoid needless and unfair charges," he said in a statement. "There is no doubt that information from our report last year fueled competition in the marketplace (and) the bottom line of this report is that millions of Americans have better broadband performance this year than they did last," he continued.

Genachowski also used the report to pitch the benefits of cloud computing which, he said, cannot happen without "broadband abundance--the ability to quickly and cheaply move large amounts of data through the internet."

For more:
- see the FCC report (.pdf)
- this FTTH Council release
- the Verizon statement
- and this FCC statement

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