Shop Notes

District pays a lot per broadband bit

Posted: Oct. 6, 2010 | Tags: broadband, Connected, economy, net neutrality

Washingtonians get less bang for their broadband buck than every state in the nation except Alaska, according to a survey released Tuesday.

District subscribers don’t pay much per month ($43.72, fifth when compared to the 50 states) but when you add connection speeds to the equation, it’s a different story.

The median monthly cost for broadband in the District was $11.93 per megabit per second (Mbs), according to Ookla, the Seattle-based technology company that conducted the survey. That’s nearly double the national median cost of $6.13 Mbps.

Megabits per second is a measure of how fast data travels through transmission lines. The greater the “throughput,” the better the service is for customers. Depending on a variety of factors, a speed of one or two Mbps is sufficient to deliver good quality video.

Compared to the rest of the world, the U.S. ranked 20th in the Ookla survey when it comes to cost per megabit. The top five nations with the fastest speeds per megabit were: Bulgaria, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Latvia and Lithuania.

But when considering personal wealth, the countries with the best broadband value were Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. By that measure (mean broadband subscription cost divided by the gross domestic product per capita) the U.S. ranked 12th.

The surveys were completed by people who used the company’s popular connection speed test, which gets about a million hits per day, globally. They were asked to report the price they pay as well as their advertised speed. For DC, 627 surveys were completed. The survey was conducted from June 8 to Oct. 4.

Broadband in DC is dominated by Comcast Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc. with RCN Communications Inc. also providing service in some areas.

Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas said the average cost for Comcast’s most popular speed tier is $3.75/Mbps – “well under the study’s reported D.C. median.” Douglas said Comcast has invested in its infrastructure which has increased speeds.

Verizon spokesman David Fish said Verizon customers in D.C. receive broadband service for as low as $19.95 per month and the company’s FiOS service delivers speeds up to 50 Mbps downstream.

Comcast and Verizon are both customers of Ookla, as is the Federal Communications Commission.


To check your connection speed, go to www.speedtest.net.

 




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