Want The Fastest Internet? You Better Go With Cable


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Tired of having those lags in loading a streaming video that interrupt your all-important viewing enjoyment? Want to be able to download gobs of torrents in the blink of an eye? Feel like your Internet connection moves slower than a sloth's languid bowel movement? If you answered 'yes' to any of these and find yourself craving the very fastest in Internet broadband speed, a new analysis suggests that you get yourself a cable ISP.

Ookla, the global leader in independent broadband testing, has completed a study of all ISPs' average download speeds in 2011 and found that throughout the year the six fastest ISPs were Comcast, Charter Communications, Cablevision Systems, Time Warner Cable, and Insight Communications. According to the report, Comcast and Charter were found to have an average download speed of 17.19 Megabits per second. Cablevision ranked third at 16.40 Mbps, Cox at fourth at 15.74 Mbps, Time Warner placed fifth at 14.41 Mbps and Insight followed in at sixth at 14.22 Mbps.

Craig Moffett, a senior analyst with Sanford Bernstein, told Multichannel News that cable's rule over the broadband dominion won't be ending anytime soon. "As more people are served by higher-speed connections," said, "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."

In other words, you get movin' so fast that you can't slow yourself down.

Verizon was a stand-alone among telco and DSL providers in being the only non-MSO that managed to hold a candle to the cable provider's broadband speed. Verizon was clocked as having an average download speed of 12.94 Mbps. Other than that, its telco contemporaries and DSL providers, as a comparison, were moving at not-quite-corpse speed. AT&T, for example, averaged a download speed as 4.40 Mbps and Qwest Communications averaged 6.34 Mbps.

Stepping down from a cable modem these days to a telco or DSL provider would probably feel like running into a quicksand trap for many users, especially if the difference is going to be as low as 25% of the download speed you're used to.

It seems that the high speed dominance of multiple system operators isn't that big of a secret to Internet users as as Comcast and Time Warner are already the top two worldwide MSOs with 22,360,000 and 12,109,000 subscribers, respectively. Or, alternately, if you're already tethered to one of these MSOs and were holding out on some impossibly faster ISP out there, well, sorry - you're not gonna get much faster Internets anytime in the near future.