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June 19, 2014

DSL Tends to Drag, Causing Consumer Complaints

If you are an American DSL user, you may not be getting the broadband speeds you are paying your Internet service provider for.

The Federal Communications Commission, in its newly released  report on broadband speed and reliability testing for residential broadband service, said those who subscribe to a cable or fiber-to-the-home service are likely receiving the speeds they are paying for while those with DSL service often are not.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

“Consumers deserve to get what they pay for. While it’s encouraging to see that in the past these reports have encouraged providers to improve their services, I’m concerned that some providers are failing to deliver consistent speeds to consumers that are commensurate to their advertised speeds,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a press release. “As a result, I’ve directed FCC staff to write to the underperforming companies to ask why this happened and what they will do to solve this.”

The discrepancy may be due to the differences in the costs of upgrading DSL compared to other technologies, the report concluded. DSL would need structural or plant upgrades to obtain higher speeds, whereas cable or fiber can be upgraded with gradual investments in the electronics.

Bu the FCC isn’t interested in hearing excuses.

“We fully expect providers to make the necessary investments to ensure that the service they deliver is consistent with what they advertise to consumers,” the report said.

Although DSL did not fare well, cable companies, such as Comcast and fiber-based broadband provider Verizon scored well, often providing faster speeds than what their customers paid for. Fiber-based providers exceeded what they advertised with 113 percent of advertised download speeds and 114 percent of advertised upload speeds.

The report also touched on the dispute between Netflix, Cogent and ISPs such as Comcast and Verizon.

“It has become clear from consumer complaints to the FCC—and even in some comments consumers have filed for the Open Internet NPRM—that consumers are frustrated by recent trouble with their Internet experience for certain services and content providers,” reads an FCC blog post.

“We need to get to the bottom of this.”


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.