Comcast is the fastest broadband provider in the U.S.

Comcast (s CMCSA), the Philadelphia-based cable company, was the fastest broadband service provider in the U.S. during 2011, according to Ookla, a broadband speed test company. Comcast recently announced that it had completed the upgrade of its entire broadband network to newer DOCSIS 3.0 technology that helps enable faster connections. Comcast was followed by Charter Communications, Cablevision, Time Warner Cable (s TWC) and Insight Communications, according to Ookla‘s Net Index. Multichannel News, which initially reported the news noted:

Comcast and Charter delivered average download speeds of 17.19 Megabits per second, followed by Cablevision at 16.40 Mbps, Cox at 15.76 Mbps, TWC at 14.41 Mbps and Insight at 14.22 Mbps. Verizon Communications (s VZ) fared better than its telco peers with an average download speed of 12.94 Mbps, thanks to FiOS Internet, its fiber-to-the-home service that provides up to 150 Mbps downstream. And overall, Verizon had the highest upstream speeds with an average of 7.41 Mbps. Still, the company’s legacy DSL services dragged down overall speeds.

AT&T (s T) delivered an overall average download speed of 4.40 Mbps, according to Net Index data for SBC and Bell South, which are the regional bell operating companies that now comprise AT&T. Qwest Communications, which last year merged with CenturyLink, delivered an average of 6.34 Mbps in 2011, the Net Index data shows.

Research firm Sanford Bernstein predicts that by 2020, cable operators will control about 70 percent of the U.S. broadband market. The research from Sanford Bernstein predicts that by 2020, AT&T’s U-verse will have 10.1 percent of the market, while Verizon’s FiOS will own about 7.9 percent. Given that Verizon has gotten in bed with cable companies, it doesn’t surprise me that they are not going to be a bigger portion of the broadband pie. Sanford Bernstein data also shows that there is not much competition in the U.Ss when it comes to broadband.

As an observation, these top speeds from cable companies are much slower than the top speeds in other countries such as South Korea, Japan, the Baltic nations and parts of Eastern Europe. Comcast and its cable brethren have to offer their higher bandwidth tiers — 50 Mbps or higher — at more affordable prices in order for those to become widely adopted.

When it comes to broadband, I am one of the fortunate “1 percent” — my average speed on any given day is between 60 Mbps to 95 Mbps (download) and about 75 Mbps (upload), thanks to a fiber-only ISP, WebPass.