What has a 93% satisfaction rate among all American consumers and has maintained, and even lowered in some cases, its price point while increasing quality of service? Broadband.
According to the latest FCC report on “Consumer Wireline Broadband Performance in the U.S.”, Internet service providers represent a true “success story, and [their efforts] indicate strong progress toward the important goals set forth in the National Broadband Plan.” This success is defined by marked improvement by ISPs in the areas of actual versus advertised speeds, sustained download and upload speeds, time required to load web pages, VoIP (voice over IP) latency and streaming video transmittance.
“ISP performance has improved overall, with ISPs delivering on average 96 percent of advertised speeds during peak intervals, and with five ISPs routinely meeting or exceeding advertised rates,” the report states. Results across all other test areas were similar. In some cases, ISPs over-indexed in performance with average upload speeds indexing at 107%, up from 103% in 2011.
The FCC reports some variation depending on broadband delivery technology, but broadband via cable stats are up across the board. Good news considering cable broadband is available to 93% of U.S. households – that’s access to speeds of 50 Mbps or faster for 105 million American homes.
The FCC report, which is effectively a consumer satisfaction survey for broadband providers, will mean continued growth and investment. That of course will mean more jobs as the industry, which has already invested $250 billion in the nation’s broadband infrastructure over the past four years, seeks to build upon its record of success.
Additional investment and expansion will also mean more opportunities for online education and entrepreneurship – two areas many Americans are focused on this year.
Digital textbooks, streaming video lectures and online class discussions are but a few examples of how some schools are already incorporating broadband technologies into the classroom to improve outcomes for students.
In addition to the academic benefits, broadband is also providing her opportunities for entrepreneurs. One study from the Internet Innovation Alliance and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council found that by using broadband, business start-ups can save more than $1,000 in travel costs through video conferencing, and they can save more than $6,100 a year by working from home with a broadband connection, instead of renting office space. Entrepreneurs can save more than $16,000 in their first year by using broadband-based services such as printing and logo design instead of traditional vendors. That’s $16,000 that can be invested elsewhere.
The opportunities for education, entrepreneurship and countless other broadband uses are but part of the reason why broadband keeps getting better for Americans.