The not-so-fast lane

capital region internet speeds mbps

Download speeds in megabits per second. There are a bunch of notes for this graph (below).

An article by Larry Rulison in the TU this past weekend highlighted an irony about "Tech Valley" -- residential internet connection speeds here are, uh, not so fast.

To put things in some perspective on the topic, we put together two graphs. The first is above -- it lists the top download speeds available through residential internet access service in this area.

Probably the most-envied internet hook-up across the country right now is Google Fiber, which the company first started in Kanas City (remember the contest?), and has since spread to Provo, Utah, and soon Austin. It offers connection speeds of up to 1 gigabit, both download and upload. The technical term for that is really &@##$%%^ fast.

So we put together a second graph to compare local speeds to Google Fiber, as well as a few other comparisons.

Why does this matter? Well, of all the problems in the world to have, this ranks relatively low on the list. But people always seem to find a way to fill up available bandwidth. One simple example: Netflix streaming -- that wouldn't be possible in dial-up world.

Local speeds vs. Google Fiber

capital region internet connection speeds vs Google fiber

Notes

Speeds are listed by megabit per second.

All speeds are max download speeds either listed on websites for the services, or via other reports. A max speed is the highest possible speed under the services -- many of the services note that customers will see speeds "up to" those marks.

FiOS is only available in a few Capital Region neighborhoods, and by all reports, Verizon has no current intention of expanding it.

We included South Korea in the comparison because it's said to have the fasted internet connection speeds in the world.

* Listed download speed is .5-1 mbps
** Listed download speed is 7.1-15 mbps, available in select locations only
*** $300 one-time fee, guaranteed for 7 years
^ From Albany metro May 2013 report from RootMetrics
^^ From Akami State of the Internet Report December 31, 2012, reported by GigaOm
! As unbelievable as it might see, AOL (or aol) still had 3 million dial-up subscribers as of 2012

Comments

I don't believe anyone actually gets 15 Mbps on DSL. i live literally a quarter mile from Verizon's building (speed with DSL is a product of distance from network hubs), and I max out at around 9 Mbps (which is absurdly good compared to most people's DSL).

Someone prove me wrong!

@Mike A.: I didn't even realize DSL could be that fast until I looked up the numbers on Verizon's website. That top tier plan lists the speed as 7.1 to 15 Mbps. And includes this note: "The 3.1–7 Mbps and 7.1–15 Mbps service tiers ranges are available in select locations only. Availability subject to final confirmation by Verizon. Download time estimates based on maximum connection speeds. Actual speeds will vary."

And let's not forget that FIOS is NOT available in more places than it IS. I live right behind Colonie Center and though there's a FIOS stand _inside the mall_ there is no projected timetable when we might actually get it.

So unless you want to step way down to DSL it's Time Warner or nothing for a lot of area residents. Sadly.

I find there's more to quality internet service than just upload/download speed.

ISP's can vary in their ability and capacity to provide consistent, quality connections over time. For example, while my previous Verizon DSL service at 3 Mbps was 'slower' than my current Time Warner cable at 10 Mbps, it was far more reliable and consistent.

I'd trade a few Mbps of speed for quality anytime.

Yet another thing that makes Albany so appealing to the masses (Sarcasm). Any way this place can get a do over?

Could anyone shed some light on Albany freenet and/or wink? I am considering switching to them and have been able to find very little info aside from their website.

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