Broadband Speeds Are Faster (And Only Slightly More Expensive)

The average U.S. broadband connection now delivers speeds of 9.54 Mbps down, which is about 2.5 times faster than the 3.8 Mbps down users got was back in 2007. Today’s speeds are 34 percent faster than 2009’s average speeds of 7.12 Mbps while the cost of broadband has only risen 4 percent from 2009 to 2010, according to the analysts at In-Stat. The firm’s data doesn’t go back much further, but in 2007 Verizon (s vz) launched its fiber to the home service and in 2008 Comcast (s cmcsa) launched faster broadband services thanks to its DOCSIS 3.0 roll out.

At the time, the new services were expensive with Comcast 50 Mbps service costing $150 per month and Verizon’s 30 Mbps FiOS service costing $179, which was a big jump from the older speed tiers. In-Stat said the average downstream speed across all access technologies increased by 71 percent over the course of the past two years with cable modem and FTTH downstream speeds showing the greatest increases. In-Stat concluded that, “The appearance of newly competitive access technologies, such as mobile wireless broadband, acts as a driver for increasing overall broadband speeds.”

Given that U.S. wireless speeds are all over the map with Verizon’s newly launched LTE providing up to 12 Mbps down, while still delivering 1.5 Mbps via its 3G services, I’m pretty sure it’s the DOCSIS 3.0 and fiber roll outs we should be thanking for our speed boost. And those increases are generally so much greater than what came before that a relatively small number of upgrades may be skewing the average. For example, Time Warner Cable (s twc), the nation’s second largest cable company has not expanded its DOCSIS 3.0 roll out to most of its subscribers and AT&T (s t) is betting on a slower fiber-to-the-node technology.

But still, it’s an improvement. On a related note, our upstream speeds as a nation have increased to 2.56 Mbps according to Ookla, which runs the site. In-Stat declined to disclose the upload speeds associated with its research, but Ookla’s downstream average of 10.69 Mbps for the U.S. is more generous than In-Stat’s numbers.

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