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US FCC: Internet Providers Improve Download Speeds During Peak Periods

By Andrew Seidman WASHINGTON--Consumers are accessing the Internet at a speed that more closely lines up with what their broadband providers advertised than they did a year ago, the Federal Communications Commission said in a report released Thursday. The average broadband provider delivered 96% of advertised download speed during the peak hours of 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., when Internet traffic is busiest, up from 87% last year. That result was "driven by improvements in network performance, and not downward adjustments to the speed tiers offered," the FCC said in the report. This year's report marks the second year that the FCC has studied home broadband performance. Broadband providers using fiber technology provided the highest average download speed during peak hours as a percentage of advertising at 117%, while those using DSL provided only 84% of the download speed they promised customers. Verizon Communications Inc. and Cablevision Systems Corp. provided the fastest download speeds of 120% of what they advertised. Cablevision made the biggest improvement of all broadband providers in that category from last year, the FCC said, when the company delivered 54% of advertised download speed. Comcast Corp. and Verizon were the only companies that delivered at least 100% of advertised download speed in both years. Frontier Communications Corp. provided the slowest download speed, meeting less than 80% of what it advertised. Verizon DSL provided the fastest upload speed as a percentage of advertising at over 120%, while Windstream Corp. provided the lowest at about 90%. The report also found that consumers subscribed to faster speed tiers, of 14.3 Megabits per second on average, up nearly 30% from last year. The increase came as service providers upgraded and more high-speed tiers became available. The report doesn't cover all broadband consumers. The FCC tracked 13 Internet Service Providers that account for more than 80% of the residential broadband market. Last year's study was based on data collected in March. This year's report measured data compiled from a subset of 6,204 devices for the month of April. Write to Andrew Seidman at andrew.seidman@dowjones.com Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

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