In broadband analysis, cable generally outperforms telcos: Opensignal

Verizon outperforms T-Mobile US’ home broadband on a technology-agnostic basis: Opensignal

Of the five internet service providers with the most extensive service footprints, Comcast’s Xfinity service wins in consistent broadband quality and broadband video experience, while Charter’s Spectrum ISP landed the ranking for the fastest overall download speeds in new analysis from Opensignal.

In fact, in most of Opensignal’s head-to-head comparisons within the same geographic operating footprint, those two cable operators beat out their three telecom operator competitors who provide both mobile and home broadband service.

The five ISPs—AT&T, T-Mobile US, Verizon and cable operators Charter (under the Spectrum brand) and Comcast (via its Xfinity brand) each pass more than a third of U.S. homes. Opensignal noted that the rankings are technology-agnostic and include various service types including cable, DSL, fiber and Fixed Wireless Access. So it isn’t quite a technology head-to-head comparison—except in the case of T-Mobile US, which currently offers only FWA home broadband although it also has a joint venture in the works to start offering fiber-based service in the Mid-Atlantic region.

However, adoption of various technologies across a provider’s customer base did show up in the crowd-sourced-data-based rankings. AT&T, for example, had 8.6 million residential fiber customers, 5.2 million residential non-fiber customers and 203,000 fixed wireless customers as of the end of the first quarter of 2024, and Opensignal notes how the subscriber base’s choices affect the provider’s performance. In upload speed, where AT&T beat out all other competitors, Opensignal said that this was “due to the high prevalence of fiber customers purchasing symmetrical speeds in its customer base.” However, AT&T’s “relative underperformance” in broadband consistency—it came in fifth—was called out as “reflective of the fact that more than a third of its subscribers are on non-fiber technologies.”

Spectrum clocked the fastest overall broadband speed on a national basis, at 169.2 Mbps, followed by Xfinity at 158.2 Mbps and then Verizon in third at 142.9 Mbps. AT&T won for fastest broadband upload speed at 81.4 Mbps, followed by Verizon at 68.1 Mbps and Xfinity at 23.3 Mbps.

In a head-to-head comparison, Verizon beat T-Mobile US in all four areas: Upload and download speeds, consistency and video experience, but had mixed results compared to other providers. “Verizon’s results reflect the mix of fiber, fixed wireless, and to a much smaller extent, DSL, in its footprint,” Opensignal concluded.

More details in this Opensignal blog post.

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