Blog Post Rankings Shame Nation's ISPs

In a measurement of statewide web-surfing speeds, Nevada came out on top with speeds of a mere 781 kbps, and that was far above the not-even-broadband speeds of 322 kbps experienced by users in New Mexico, the lowest ranked state, according to The technology magazine published today its list of top Internet Service Providers, as well as the nation’s fastest states for broadband.

For those of you who looked at those speeds and noticed how much they differ from the multiple megabits per second most of us buy from our ISP, Jeremy Kaplan, executive editor for, explains that the publication’s measurements are a reflection of typical web surfing rather than a straight-up broadband speed test.

PCMag’s SurfSpeed application isn’t measuring speeds the way the ISPs or popular applications such as do. Instead of sending a large file to test speeds, SurfSpeed measures how fast normal web sites can load the multiple frames of information sent down from a variety of servers. This is affected not only by broadband speeds but by the processing engine inside your browser, the latency on the servers delivering the web content and countless other points where a data packet might pause.

To see how your state ranked, check out the PCMag article and charts. I was bummed to see Texas, my home and the headquarters of AT&T, the nation’s largest ISP, was ranked 19th.

6 Responses to “ Rankings Shame Nation's ISPs”

  1. I recently had a problem with the modem issued to me by my cable company. So I took it back and got one of the newer models. Amazingly my speed jumped nearly 50%. So if you are leasing/renting your cable modem and it seems slow or old take it back in and get a newer model.

  2. majortom1981

    That article was horrible. They only mention nyc for NY .

    They dont even mention CABLEVISION. Which means ALL OF LONG ISLAND can get boost speeds which can go up to 38/5 .

  3. Stacey Higginbotham

    The distinction the PCMag survey is trying to make is that this measures the speeds of average web surfing, which can experience delays depending on how and where the content on the page is coming from. You can download the magazine’s SurfSpeed app and test. It doesn’t work on a Mac, so I cannot test it, but really want to hear what other people see.

    I am curious if activities like normal web surfing slow it down compared to streaming video. I imagine video would result in higher surfing speeds, since that is being transferred from only one server in most cases. For what it’s worth, I think the numbers are strange, but it looks like the are testing the web surfing experience in the same manner as AlertSite does for web performance monitoring.

  4. Well, I’m sitting here a bit outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico – with no more than an “average” Comcast fiber connection which costs me too much as far as my budget is concerned; but, still about average. I just pinged to San Francisco at 22mbps.

    OTOH, we all know that if it rains somewhere in the state the telephones stop working. That’s part of our heritage from U.S. Worst, the telco which is now Qworst.

  5. Nevada is fastest in part due to its atypical telecom history. Way back when there was a Nevada Bell and the population of the state was a tiny fraction of what it is now, they decided to move exclusively to fiber something like a quarter century ago. As a consequence, there is very little copper plant anywhere in the state since virtually all the population growth has occurred during a “fiber only” policy era and as ancient copper gets replaced. Even out in the remote ranch country, your telephone terminates on fiber just a stone’s throw away and dirt roads to nowhere frequently have the ever present “warning: underground fiber” markers next to them.

    To add to this, the public utilities laid ubiquitous fiber everywhere they had utilities easements. As a consequence, for vaguely recent communities in Nevada, which is most of them, you have at least two fibers available for use that run in front of your house or building (never mind conventional cable services), one for the telco and one for the utility. Furthermore, some development companies laid their own fiber as well. It is a nearly ideal setup for metro fiber networks.

    Conveniently, the transcontinental telecom backbones also run through the two big corridors in Nevada upon which the major metros are located, meaning that the Internet is also very close topologically. When I lived there many years ago, it was cheaper to get high-speed bandwidth delivered to a premises in northern Nevada than in Silicon Valley. It is not intuitive to many people, but Nevada is one of the most heavily fibered states in the US, which has made it relatively inexpensive to deliver high-bandwidth networking.