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More on DC broadband – Promised versus delivered speeds

Posted: Oct. 8, 2010 | Tags: broadband, Comcast, Connected, Ookla

A big issue in the broadband debate is whether companies are delivering on their promises when it comes to connection speeds. Ookla, the Seattle-based technology company that I wrote about earlier this week regarding value, looked at this issue as well.

The results in the U.S. were surprisingly good. The survey shows that actual speeds were 93.02 percent of promised speeds in the U.S., ranking the nation in 11th place. That’s based on 258,227 surveys nationwide.

The top five states were Delaware (101.55 percent); Massachusetts (100.06 percent); Maryland (99.68 percent); Rhode Island (99.23 percent); and Virginia (98.48 percent). The District of Columbia did better in promised speeds than it did in the value survey. It placed 29th among the 50 states, delivering 91.06 percent. New Mexico, at 74.07 percents, ranked last.

On a global scale, interestingly, Eastern European countries do well, as they have in other categories. The Republic of Moldova was tops (109.21 percent); Russia ranked second (98.79 percent); Slovakia was third (98.70 percent); Lithuania was fourth (98.30 percent); and Ukraine was fifth (97.72 percent).

To see these results for yourself, go to

On Tuesday, we reported Washington subscribers pay $43.72 a month for broadband, the fifth-lowest amount among the 50 states. But when considering speed, the median monthly cost for broadband in the District was $11.93 per megabit per second (Mbs). That’s nearly double the national median cost of $6.13 Mbps, and ranks DC second from the bottom among the states. (Alaska was worse).

We also reported a response from the District’s dominant broadband providers, which begged further reporting.

Comcast said the average cost for Comcast’s most popular speed tier is $3.75/Mbps – "well under the study’s reported D.C. median." Verizon said customers in the District can receive broadband service for as low as $19.95 per month. And separately, the company’s super-fast FiOS service delivers speeds up to 50 Mbps downstream.

Worth noting: the low-cost Verizon plan, which is $19.99 per month – delivers speeds between 768 Kbs and 1 Mbps, requires a two-year contract, and Verizon phone service, according to the company’s Web site. Comcast offers $40.95 per month for speeds "up to 1.5 Mbps," also according to its Web site. RCN, which also does business in the District, did not respond to a request for comment.

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