Cable internet providers often actually provide download speeds far short of what are promised. If a high speed internet provider is advertising download speeds of 30 Mbps, it’s likely you’ll be getting download speeds far slower than that, especially during busy times of the day. But while European internet providers are chided for only providing 74% of the speeds promised, that is much higher than other parts of the world.
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In a study of fixed broadband performance released Wednesday, the Commission said European consumers receive, on average, 74% of the “advertised headline speed” they’re paying with respect to the downstream. And DSL apparently shoulder much of the blame for not doing better.
Cable, at 91.4%, was the most reliable, followed by FTTx services (84.4%) and xDSL-based services (63%), the Commission said. The average download speeds across all countries and all fixed broadband technologies was 19.47 Mbps during peak hours. FTTx was the fastest, at 41.02 Mbps, trailed by cable (33.1 Mbps), and DSL (7.2 Mbps).
All ISPs did better with the upstream, with 88% hitting their advertised speeds. The average upload speed was 6.20 Mbps, with FTTx well out in front (19.8 Mbps), followed by cable’s modest 3.68 Mbps and DSL’s paltry 0.69 Mbps.
The European Commission based its findings on data from SamKnows, a broadband performance testing specialist that has conducted similar studies in the U.K. and the U.S. Results for the European study were taken in March 2012 from a panel of 9,104 participants. A total of 3,065,341,850 measurements were taken across 75,978,173 unique tests, according to the Commission.
The European Commission said the study was its first to show the difference between advertised and actual broadband speeds from all European Union member states. “There are significant differences in the European national markets, most likely due to advertising practices,” European Commission VP Neelie Kroes said, in a statement. “Consumers need more of this sort of data to help make informed choices, so we will repeat the exercise. And we take these first results as further proof of the need for a real connected single market.”
All this goes to show: when doing your research, don’t take the advertiser’s word for it.