back to article America's hot and cold spots for broadband revealed in new map

A new map of broadband speeds shows which Americans enjoy the fastest and slowest internet connections. The map, assembled by IT service firm OfficeSuite from data in Akamai's State of the Internet report, shows the top speeds are in Virginia, though New England and the Pacific Northwest also enjoy strong service. That …

  1. Efros

    This is what happens when you have nice little local monopolies all acting in collusion with each other in terms of not competing or crossing territorial boundaries. Would be interesting to see a similar map with cost per Mbps, only on a worldwide scale.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The local government is also to blame as many won't allow other competitors to enter or make the red tape vary hard to get through.

    2. JeffyPoooh
      Pint

      cost per Mbps

      A steep function of time here in Atlantic Canada.

      Until recently, 1.4 Mbps ADSL, $100/month including telephone.

      Now, 175 Mbps FibreOP, $100/month including telephone.

      Plus a very recent $6 price increase. Applies to both.

      1. John65

        Re: cost per Mbps

        I'm on the base rate Internet service 50 Mbps down and 30 up, of course, the cost is lower than yours. Gotta say it is a great service.

        1. JeffyPoooh
          Pint

          Re: cost per Mbps

          "Gotta say [Bell Aliant FibreOP] is a great service."

          Agreed. Aliant have broken the FTTH code; they've figured out that being capable of offering FibreOP TV (better than Cable TV in every detail) pays for the FTTH roll out. The local Cable TV / Internet provider (Eastlink) was just a mile up the road for a bloody decade and refused to extend their cable to service our neighbourhood.

          Bell Aliant has earned some Goodwill and Other Intangibles in my book. Too bad their billing system is so seriously screwed up. I'd like to get their billing IT folks fired. Useless idiots.

          The primary residual issue is that FibreOP TV only offers one half of the 500 channel universe. We require some key channels that they don't (yet?) offer, so we still need satellite TV. FibreOP TV = 260 channels. Bell Satellite = 520 channels. We require a few in the missing half.

    3. midcapwarrior

      wrong cause and effect

      In this case it's not all about monopolies.

      Highest speeds are in areas that have high density and above average income.

      Just the places you would expect to have the most competition.

      I live in Northern VA and have 4 choices for high speed.

      The regions with the lowest speeds tend to have combinations of lower density/income making it less cost effective to deliver.

      Not sure what a world chart of cost per Mbps would show as many countries subsidize costs as part of country goals either directly or indirectly. South Korea would be an example.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: wrong cause and effect

        Monopolies and the local governments are still a big part of it. True you will get more competition in higher density, higher income areas.

        Another factor for Virginia is that as I recall, they're pretty much the biggest transatlantic relay for internet traffic. All the big guys had their headquarters there once upon a time. I think that alone will tend to boost the speeds.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    comparison

    The South will fall again.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederate_States_of_America#mediaviewer/File:Confederate_States_of_America_(orthographic_projection).svg

  3. JeffyPoooh
    Pint

    Virginia is tough on speeders

    For every 1 Mbps over 90 Mbps, you'll spend a night in jail.

    I read about this recently on the Interweb. Or perhaps I'm mixed up with a recent news story about motor vehicular speeding in Virginia.

  4. foxyshadis

    Would probably be more interesting on a county level (or in the west, ZIP code, since our counties are larger than some states). Whole-state mapping doesn't mean much for anyone living in the wrong part of the state.

    Given how much of VA is hinterlands, Arlington, Richmond, and Norfork must have absolutely insane average bandwidth!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @foxyshadis

      The major part of the population in Virginia is in the metro areas -- and it is much smaller that California -- that makes it easy to keep the averages up. In California there is a significant size population outside Bay Area and LA, and the state is vast, so the rural population is dragging the averages down -- that being said -- AT&T common packages offered (in California) are with 6Mb/s and 12Mb/s bandwidth -- the 6Mb/s is quite cheap and probably elected by a lot, which also drags the averages down -- so the picture is not quite clear if the averages are due to customers selecting lesser packages or the ISPs not being able to deliver -- Google fiber with 1Gb/s is about to roll out in some Californian towns.. so hope for more bandwith around the corner.

      1. Eddy Ito

        Re: @foxyshadis

        I can tell you that being only 20 miles from downtown LA and you might get actual definition broadband but not more. Sure I can pay for the high speed up to 15 Mb/s package but can guarantee that you'll be luck to see the high 5 to low 6 Mb/s range because the infrastructure simply can't handle it. I dropped back to the cheapest net connection available and dropped from nearly 6 to about 3.5 Mb/s and saved a lot of money doing it. If I lived a little further away where the truly expensive new housing is I could get blistering speed over fiber but paying the associated Mello-Roos taxes (about $1000/month) simply isn't worth it.

    2. Ole Juul

      Average?

      The problem with using averages is that the number is only useful when all values are equally important. In this case they're not. I'd like to see what the low end actually looks like in practice.

      1. Irony Deficient

        Re: Average?

        Ole, the definition of broadband in this report is 4 Mb/s minimum, so the low end (like my 3½ Mb/s DSL) is completely ignored by it.

      2. Steven Jones

        Re: Average?

        @Ole Juul

        Absolutely. They should be reporting on percentile figures, like medians, quartiles and so on. A far better way of characterising statistics where there is a huge disparity between the bottom and the top of the range. That's why median income level is favoured over average. It far better represents the "typical" experience.

      3. IglooDude

        Re: Average?

        I can say that for Arkansas, the low end in practice is fairly close to "shouting is quicker". RFC 1149 is viable technology in some areas of the state.

    3. Decade
      Unhappy

      High tech does not mean high speed Internet

      Here in San Francisco, so far Google, Monkeybrains, and Sonic.net have tried and failed to bring affordable high-speed Internet to the City. The only high-speed option is Comcast, with a normal speed in the 10's of Mbps. In my work place, Comcast was not available, so we switched to Sonic.net's bonded ADSL2+ service, which runs over AT&T's lines.

      In this area, AT&T and Comcast are the most common options. Not far away from the urban areas, like Robert X. Cringely's house, the options dwindle to about 0. And in some random parts of the Bay Area, gigabit fiber is available. It's a mess.

    4. J__M__M

      Given how much of VA is hinterlands, Arlington, Richmond, and Norfork must have absolutely insane average bandwidth!...

      Unless we're talking about averages, that is.

  5. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    an average speed of 10.9 Mbps. That means the state that houses Apple, Intel, Oracle, Facebook and Google has lower broadband speeds than

    Most of the UK.

    But not a huge difference especially if you consider the difference in land area and population density. Sometimes being small and living shoulder to shoulder is a good thing :)

    1. Robert Helpmann??
      Joke

      On Being

      Sometimes being small...is a good thing

      I understand medical science can work miracles these days.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    100 mbps for 100 $/month in WI

    I have 100/10 mbps in Wisconsin, I suspect that it is the cost of service that keep the overall bandwidth from going higher. Frankly, my household is Internet only, so I can afford the higher speeds... God help anyone that has to pay a Cable TV bill. I suspect most people skimp on their Internet in favor of HBO, which to me is the height of stupidity.

  7. winkydinky

    The map is not an accurate reflection of reality. So much of the Western USA is rural. I live in Oregon which is indicated to be better than moderate performance. However, Eastern Oregon and Western Oregon are two different regions. The West is serviced by very good ISP service. Central and Eastern Oregon is not. This is true in Utah, Idaho, most of Nevada (except Las Vegas), Eastern California, and so many other places throughout the West in the US.

    I am serviced by 7Mbps service in Bend. Faster speeds are available for more money. Often these speeds come with data caps of just 150GB per month too. It is a pathetic state of service for 2014.

    1. Ole Juul

      "I am serviced by 7Mbps service in Bend. Faster speeds are available for more money. Often these speeds come with data caps of just 150GB per month too. It is a pathetic state of service for 2014."

      Parts of Oregon have 1.5mbps service. Workable but poor. I'm in a (very) small town in western Canada, and I get similar speeds (though slightly higher for more money). My cap for $40/mo is 20GB, and for $50/mo is 40GB. You think 150GB is poor?

      This is exactly why I want to see statistics published about what is going on at the low end.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hungary

    So I can be extremely happy here in Hungary paying less than $20/month for a 30Mbps line. Btw it is the slowest offering from my service provider, for a bit more I could have up to 240Mbps. One of their competitor is trying to persuade me to go for the new 1Gbps line for about 50% higher fee.

    1. BB

      Re: Hungary

      I'm guessing you're in Budapest? I'd be surprised if you could get 30Mbps in Nyiregyhaza! It's the same here in London, everyone can get 24Mbps+, but most of the country is stuck on 6Mbps due to BT's combination of monopoly and incompetence.

      If some of the slowest states in the US average 7Mbps, it's not great, but it's a fair bit better than most English counties.

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: Hungary

        Actually that's not true. There are places in central London where the connection speed is surprisingly low.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hungary

        I have to disagree. My service provider is UPC, they are in most places in Hungary, including Nyiregyhaza. Their prices and offerings are uniform all over the country. For internet they are offering 4 speed options, 30/60/120/240 Mbps. Admittedly the guaranteed speed is 10/20/30/60 Mbps. Occasionally I check the actual speed, but never had lower than 25Mbps, nearly always 30 or a bit over. Diginet, which is an other large service provider is the one offering the 1000Mbps, I do not know if it is a countrywide offer or only in Budapest.

      3. Tex Arcana

        Re: Hungary

        "If some of the slowest states in the US average 7Mbps, it's not great, but it's a fair bit better than most English counties"

        BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!

        Are you kidding?? Most low-end averages range from 768K thru 3 or 6 mbps (mega-bits per SUCK) DSL, as provided by AT&T and Verizon, who really just don't give a damn about providing anything except a cash-suction device plumbed into your wallet.

  9. chivo243 Silver badge
    FAIL

    My ISP words it correctly

    I just received a new subscription from my ISP, it says "Downloads up to 50mbps", The modem says no! But I have 17.86mbps down if you like.... it covers their ass I guess.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: My ISP words it correctly

      Downloads up to 50mbps

      50 millibits per second? Harsh.

  10. Chad H.

    I'm going to go right ahead and guess all those Congressfolks are staying in places like Langley, Virginia, when they're "at work".

  11. asdf

    cheap bastards like me ruin the average

    Sure I could get at least 30mbps in my area if I was willing to spend double with the cable service but for $27 a month I will take my 15mbps (supposed to be 12 but I don't complain) on DSL and not whine too much.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Barely see the point

    Streaming the highest-definition video possible from Netflix, Amazon, etc. requires around 300 KB/s = 2.34 Mbit/s.

    From reading the comments in this thread, one might think such a speed was human rights abuse. Something homeless people might be stuck with, or household pets.

    I recently switched from cable (20 Mb observed) to DSL (5.6 Mb observed) because I don't like Comcast and I wanted to save $25/month. I couldn't be happier. Practically speaking I have noticed almost no difference in service. In fact, web pages etc. load a bit quicker with DSL because of lower latency. If I want to download something huge (e.g. an OS image) then it does take about 4 times longer, but I would have gone to get a cup of coffee anyway.

    1. Metrognome

      Re: Barely see the point

      Not quite.

      What you describe is SD quality.

      Netflix's own recommendations ( https://help.netflix.com/en/node/306 ) say otherwise. Of course, if you didn't use HD before and don't use HD now; then 5+ Mbps is more than adequate for your needs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Barely see the point

        "Netflix's own recommendations ... say otherwise."

        I'm surprised you feel like you're in a position to tell other people how much data Netflix HD uses when you clearly haven't measured it yourself and you're going by some numbers they posted on their web site. (Who knows how they came up with those numbers--presumably they're very heavily padded to account for ISPs' "up to ..." rates...)

        1. Metrognome

          Re: Barely see the point

          OK, let's admit that we both haven't measured Netflix's own HD bandwidth requirement.

          Can we agree on the following facts:

          1) Bandwidth requirements are dynamic and we need to focus on some sort of average/minimum bandwidth to give us a baseline?

          2) How about the recommendations of the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) that for HD the minimum you should need is 10 Mbps ( EBU - Tech 3334 - page 6)

          FWITW cable and early satellite HD feeds were using around 15-17 Mbps. So, unless Netflix are magicians or science wizards they couldn't possibly squeeze the same amount of information, that everyone else uses, down to a third of the size without some loss. For if they did, they'd stand to make way more money by marketing the algorithm than all their streaming business combined.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rural USA

    I live on the Illinois/Wisconsin Border in Illinois. MISERABLE "broadband" in northern Illinois, barely above dial-up. When I had a business across the border in Wisconsin, even in the 3-by-5 little town I was in, the broadband was as fast and glitchless as Chicago. Now, if the governor in Wis wasn't such a $#()*)(@, and killing the business climate, I would still be there.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still Dial Up

    Several of the small towns and surrounding areas here in Eastern NC are still on dial up. IF that's even available.

    I'm lucky and have 7mbps for $43 per month without telephone.

  15. Twaddle
    Alert

    Averages don't mean much

    This map, while interesting does not paint a reality picture of the United States. We have VAST areas where there is absolutely NO service other than Satellite connection. The copper infrastructure is woefully under-maintained and thanks the to shills we call Congress and State and local govt we have ungodly anti-competitive environments with legalized monopolies abound. Efforts to "break" the monopolies end up in endless rounds of court delays and legal costs. We also have to remember that these are "reported" speed results which means that someone already has some sort of Internet connectivity. I lived in the SF Bay area (35 miles from San Francisco and San Jose and the "BEST" I could get for a long time as 2.5/768 over copper unless you went with the cable people(monopoly that hit you with rate hikes 2-3 times a year). Fortunately I no longer live there and enjoy 60/4 in a mountain community in North Carolina. Bottom line, its a matter of where you live in the US that is the biggest factor in whether you have broadband, have something better or something less. I'd like to see a map where there is NO broadband offered as well

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Heat map

    Of the fastest available connection for under say $100/month would be more interesting. Who cares what the "average" is, as some might be fine with paying $20/month for the base rate DSL or cable internet if they don't use it that much and drag down the average.

  17. Selden

    Speed isn't everything

    For a traveler, ubiquity is at least as important, and on this measure, Alaska is the most wired of the United States. I spent three weeks travelling in Alaska and the Yukon last year, and connectivity was far better than for a trip to California 4 months later.

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