New numbers from Ookla's Net Index show that cable operators increasingly are offering consumers the greatest download speeds, as legacy DSL service put telcos in the back seat.
Verizon (NYSE: VZ), even with its FiOS service, which is capable of speeds up to 150 Mbps downstream, delivered an average 12.94 Mbps according to Ookla's Net Index, which has recorded hundreds of millions of results from consumers using its Speedtest.net website. AT&T (NYSE: T), meanwhile, provided customers with average download speeds of 4.4 Mbps (a combination of measurements for SBC and Bell South). Qwest Communications, which now is part of CenturyLink, came in at 6.34 Mbps.
Cable companies clearly had better speed to offer.
Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), Charter Communications (Nasdaq: CHTR), Cablevision (NYSE: CVC), Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Cox and Insight Communications all scored better, with Charter and Comcast delivering download speeds of 17.19 Mbps, Cablevision 16.4 Mbps, Cox 15.76 Mbps, TWC 14.41 Mbps and Insight 14.22 Mbps.
Verizon actually had the best upstream speeds, a sizzling 7.41 Mbps average. DSL speeds, under optimum conditions, currently top out at 40 Mbps, DOCSIS 3.0 can scale to 1 Gigabit per second or more.
"Technology adoption is creating a feedback loop that increasingly favors cable's physical infrastructure," wrote Sanford Bernstein senior analyst Craig Moffett in a December research note. "As more people are served by higher-speed connections, more and more applications are evolving to take advantage of them. Customers with lower-speed connections are increasingly being forced to upgrade to higher speed connections... or be left behind."
Ookla adds ISP performance ranking to Net Index