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FCC survey finds FTTH networks shines among consumer broadband speeds


August 5, 2011
By Alyssa Dalton

August 5, 2011 – Fiber to the home (FTTH) networks outpaced cable-based and DSL services in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s first nationwide performance study of residential wireline broadband service in the United States using measurement technology deployed in the consumer’s home.

Issued by the FCC, Measuring Broadband America, the report examined service offerings from 13 of the largest broadband providers using automated, direct measurements of broadband performance delivered to the homes of thousands of volunteer broadband subscribers during March 2011. The initiative was part of the National Broadband Plan issued by the Commission last year.

The study found that, with regard to peak period download speeds as compared to a 24-hour average, FTTH services delivered virtually peak speeds around the clock, while drop-off in performance during peak usage periods was 5.5% for DSL and 7.3% for cable-based services.

When comparing advertised download connection speeds of the various services, the study found that, on average, fiber-to-the-home services delivered 114% of advertised speeds, compared to 93% for cable and 82% for DSL. FTTH services also delivered 112% of advertised upload speeds, again outpacing cable and DSL.

“Latency, the time it takes for a packet of data to travel from one designated point to another in a network, was far lower in fiber to the home services across all speed tiers,” it stated.

“This FCC report, which is firmly grounded in the experience of broadband consumers across the country, provides further evidence of what we have been saying for some time – that FTTH networks are superior to other access technologies with regard to delivering fast broadband consistently and reliably,” said Dan O’Connell, president of the FTTH Council.

“In the years ahead, only fiber to the home will be able to deliver the level of performance that will be needed for consumers to keep pace with emerging applications and services and the bandwidth they will require,” he continued.

As of April 2011, all-fiber networks were available to nearly one-fifth of North American households, with more than seven million homes connected to FTTH, said the council.