The FCC‘s latest broadband speed report, released Fri, found little change from the ’12 finding, with the exception of Frontier, which improved its performance by 13% (though it still apparently delivered less than advertised download speeds during peak hours). Other than that, the report found the average ISP delivered 97% of the advertised download speed, a slight improvement from last year’s 96% and a big upgrade from 87% in ’11.

Again, cable beat DSL in sustained download speeds, delivering 99% of advertised speeds vs 85%, while fiber-to-the-home delivered 115%. Among the cable players, Comcast and Cablevision exceeded their advertised download speeds during peak hours, delivering 103% and 115% of promised speeds, respectively. While Charter, Mediacom and Cox were near the advertised speeds, Time Warner Cable came in below the thresholds (94%).

For the first time, the report included satellite broadband. At 137%, ViaSat exceeded its promised download speeds. Then there were telcos: At 118% (of promised speeds), Verizon FiOS outshined AT&T (87%). CenturyLink is also below (87%).

The report noted consumers continue to migrate to faster tiers and receive faster speeds "than ever before." The average speed tier increased from 14.3 Mbps to 15.6 Mpbs. In addition, nearly half of consumers who subscribed to speeds of less than 1 Mbps 6 months ago have adopted higher speeds, and nearly a quarter of the users who subscribed to speeds between 1 Mbps and 3 Mbps have upgraded to faster speed tiers. That’s perhaps the most important takeaway of the Commission’s study, NCTA said in a blog post. The improved popularity of high-speed tiers is reflective of the fact that broadband providers are consistently working to improve service, quality and reach," the trade group said.

For the first time, the study also included Verizon’s FiOS Quantum speed tiers of 50/25 Mbps and 75/35 Mbps, launched last summer. Looking ahead, the Commission expects to implement another one-month testing period for fixed broadband and to release an update to this report. The next testing period is scheduled for Sept, 1 year from the testing period analyzed in the current report.

Over the next year, the agency expects that providers will continue to increase their offerings in the higher speed tiers, citing the deployment of DOCSIS 3.1 technology. The cable industry has said it intends to extend its services to rates beyond 100 Mbps, both to support future services like 4K and to compete with fiber-based providers, the agency said, noting Verizon fiber is now offering rates up to 300 Mbps in some markets while Google offers 1 Gbps services in Kansas City, MO. Additionally, the FCC plans to test mobile broadband speeds and identify other areas of broadband performance that "impact the overall consumer experience."

Ed Note: This story originally appeared in CableFAX Daily. Go here to subscribe.

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