Cable broadband providers are boosting the speed of their networks, but the same can't be said for companies offering DSL service. The result is a "growing disparity" in download speeds between telecoms providing DSL service and cable companies, according to the FCC's most recent report on fixed broadband.
Cable companies' most popular offerings now promise speeds ranging from 50 and 105 Mbps, according to the new report. That's a considerable boost from March of 2011, when cable companies' most popular packages offered service ranging from 12-30 Mbps.
By contrast, DSL companies' most popular offerings are, on average, no faster now than in March of 2011, according to the report.
The FCC also found that consumers who obtain broadband via cable, fiber or satellite tend to get service at the advertised speeds. But people who connect via DSL often receive service that falls short of the speeds promised in ads.
DSL providers Frontier, Windstream, CenturyLink, AT&T and Verizon all failed to meet advertised speeds at times. (AT&T, Verizon and Frontier also operate fiber networks, which did a better job at providing service at the promised speeds.)
Frontier, which is facing a class-action lawsuit by broadband subscribers in West Virginia, recently agreed to upgrade its network to settle false advertising charges by that state's attorney general. The deal calls for Frontier to invest $150 million in its network, and also reduce the cost of service to $10 a month for some subscribers.
A separate report issued earlier this month by Akamai concluded that broadband speeds were increasing in the U.S. That report found that average connection speed in the U.S. reached 12.6 Mbps in the third quarter, up from 11.5 Mbps one year ago.