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.
A number of cable internet providers, including Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks, are expanding Wi-Fi availability for their customers with more than 150,000 hotspots in major cities across the nation. The network can be accessed by customers of any of these providers, both in and outside of their home markets.
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When traveling outside their home markets, high-speed Internet subscribers of the participating companies can look for the “CableWiFi” network service set identifier (SSID). Through a simple sign-on process, they can connect to a WiFi access point using the same credentials they use to join their own providers’ WiFi network. Once they authenticate their device, for added convenience users will be able to have their devices auto-connect to a “CableWiFi” hotspot when they are in range.
High-speed Internet customers can enjoy fast, reliable WiFi connections in major metropolitan areas across the U.S. including: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Orlando, Tampa, Kansas City, Austin, Charlotte and more. Customers should check their providers’ website for a nationwide coverage map.
The first implementation of “CableWiFi” began in May 2012, and the operators plan to continue to grow the number of WiFi hotspots in the future. The network has both indoor and outdoor hotspots located in high-traffic locations such as shopping districts, cafes, malls, sports and concert arenas, restaurants, parks and beaches. Subscribers are able to find the nearest hotspot either by visiting the WiFi homepage or by downloading their provider’s WiFi Finder app to their mobile device.
Charter Communications, which covers much of the Midwest, has not yet joined the Alliance, so users in St. Louis and other major Charter markets do not yet have access to this extensive Wi-Fi network. Hopefully they will get involved soon.
According to MediaPost News, cable television providers are being probed by the Department of Justice regarding allegations of antitrust activity. The practices being investigated are in regards to the threat provided by online video companies like Netflix and Hulu.
The Department of Justice has spoken with online video providers like Netflix and Hulu as well as large scale cable television providers like Comcast and Time Warner Cable, Inc., looking at how cable companies set and impose limits on the monthly online data consumption of their subscribers, as well as mobile television apps that require cable subscriptions to access online programming. While cable companies claim that the data caps are imposed in order to keep heavy Web users from overwhelming the cable internet networks, streaming video providers like Netflix and Hulu believe the limits are there to stop subscribers from dropping their cable TV services in favor of online video streaming.
Another antitrust worry is that cable internet providers will give priority to their own applications. For example, Comcast does not impose the same limits on users who view streaming video through their own Xbox 360 Xfinity app, but do impose the limits on Netflix.
This is not the first time cable companies have gotten in trouble with regards to antitrust and possible monopolies. Even giving the cable companies the benefit of the doubt that they are adjusting to a quickly changing climate in the world of online video streaming, it doesn’t look very good from the outside. We’ll see what the Department of Justice probes turn up, but it wouldn’t be a surprise in the future to see these data caps lifted in some cases. Check back often at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog for further updates on these antitrust probes into cable television and cable internet providers.
WinterGreen Research has published a new study, entitled Cable Modem: Market Shares, Strategy, and Forecasts, Worldwide, 2012 to 2018. According to this study, the cable modem market will reach $8.6 billion by 2018, as cable companies develop new strategies to bundle television and internet service and the lines blur between content delivered through traditional cable means and via the World Wide Web.
The market research has shown that the cable modem business is driven by the expansion of entertainment and information services in the home, with trends leading toward increased delivery of use of wireless devices to access video content and data. Though cable television as we know it is not going away, many viewers of television shows are deciding to, instead of watching programming at its assigned time on TV, stream shows over the World Wide Web on network websites and sites like Hulu, or through the Watch Instantly feature available on Netflix. Cable modems will become more and more important not only for internet access but for television as more people make this switch in the future.
Because of all of this, cable modems are in position to be a part of profitable and sustainable business opportunities for major companies like Comcast, Time-Warner Cable and Charter Communications.
The sky is not falling for cable television, though, even as more and more people watch certain entertainment and sports programming on the Web. Cable TV providers offer sports, news, shows, real-time entertainment and music in a bundle of services far beyond that which many Web searchers find for themselves, according to this WinterGreen study. It will be up to cable companies to continue to adapt, however, making sure that wireless modems are a part of their primary service bundles moving forward as more and more subscribers expect these cable modem services.
Whether you are gaming on your PC, Xbox Live, or PS3, one of the most important aspects of gaming today is being able to play games online. Video games are no longer a solitary pursuit, with PC MMORPGs and collaborative play on console systems taking over. From fantasy games to competing with others playing sports games online, online competitive and collaborative play is taking over.
Because of this, it’s important to choose the right internet service provider for gaming. The most popular options for internet service providers in many areas are cable internet service providers (which provide service through the same cables used to deliver digital television and phone services) and DSL internet service providers (Digital Subscriber Line).
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) is a generic name for digital lines provided by telephone companies to local subscribers for internet access. DSL internet access across the country is generally provided by the telephone company in that particular area (AT&T, etc.). Phone companies generally provide a number of options for DSL internet access, but what is available to the public is often slower ADSL and SDSL services, rather than the faster VDSL technology.
Cable internet providers such as Charter Communications provide a faster raw speed than DSL, but those speeds can also be limited with speed caps placed upon the lines used for internet service. This means that cable companies offer different levels of service for different price points, with each price point increasing the amount of bandwidth available for clients.
Though cable internet service providers cap speeds, the higher raw speeds allow for higher download and upload speeds, up to 100 Mbps for downloads, which are ideal for gamers, especially those gamers who wish to be able to surf the web or enable multiple users in the home while gaming. Charter Communications, serving a large part of the country, has a residential internet service designed for online gamers, called Charter Internet Ultra.
While DSL and Cable internet service providers both provide great options for online gamers, those serious gamers should look into ultra-high-speed connections from Charter Communications and other cable providers in their areas.