Local Tech Wire

RALEIGH, N.C. – Many studies on broadband connectivity and use, all with different methodologies, suggest a similar conclusion for this country: U.S. broadband might be good, but the world shows us it can be better.

According to Internet metrics firm (which runs the Speedtest.net and Pingtest.net websites), Comcast is the fastest Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the United States, with an average download speed of 16.23Mbps.

Comcast was followed by Charter Communications and then Cablevision. All of the top players in this country are cable companies. Verizon came in ninth, despite its FiOS deployments, in part due to its DSL lines.

As a whole, the average download speed in the U.S. is 9.87 Mbps. This sounds respectable, but it actually puts the United States in 27th place internationally.

South Korea has a 31.4 Mbps average, while Latvia has 24.1Mbps and the Netherlands clocks in at 22.7 Mbps. Even the Republic of Moldova has 22 Mbps average download speeds. And when it comes to ISP comparisons, Comcast’s 16 Mbps looks insignificant alongside South Korea’s Hanaro Telecom (41Mbps), Korea Telecom (35Mbps), and Krnic (28Mbps).

Ookla pulled the data from its database of 1.5 billion speed tests, but the results do suffer from some selection bias.

For example, consider Moldova. The Internet is reportedly fast, but penetration is low. Only 5.6 out of every 100 Moldavians actually have broadband, compared to 26 out of 100 U.S. residents, according to the United Nations. Speeds may be fast in the capital, but broadband is not as widely-deployed elsewhere in the country.

The virtue of the Ookla data, despite its methodological issues, does provide some insight into the global broadband picture.

Seoul, Korea is the highest ranked city at 31.74 Mbps. The highest ranked U.S. city was San Jose, Calif. (21st) at 14.48 Mbps. Other U.S. cities in the top 30 were Long Beach, Calif., ranked 27th; Saint Paul, Minn., ranked 29th; and Pittsburg, Penn., ranked 30th.

averages 7.59 Mbps throughout the state, according to Ookla. This result was obtained by Local Tech Wire by analyzing test data between June 28 and July 27. Tests from 970,320 unique IPs have been taken in this state and of 3,690,758 total tests, 205,084 are being used for the current index.

The top five N.C. cities, according to Ookla between June 28 and July 27, indicated that Morrisville at 23.88 Mbps was ranked the highest. North Wilkesboro (17.55 Mbps), Roanoke Rapids (15.5 Mbps), Waynesville (14.48 Mbps) and Hampstead (13.47 Mbps), round out the top five, respectively.

The QI, or Quality Index, shows ISP rankings that require at least 100 packet loss tests for a given ISP. ISP ratings (up to 5 stars) are based on more than 13 million results collected at Speedtest.net. This data reflects how happy customers actually are with their ISP.

The state as a whole has an 80.63 ranking based on test data between June 28 and July 27. Tests from 970,320 unique IPs were taken in this state during that period and of 3,690,758 total tests, 12,243 were used to determine this QI.

Raleigh demonstrated an 85.03 ranking while Charlotte was listed at 77.7. The top providers listed by Ookla were Windstream Communications (2.3 stars); Bellsouth.net (2.7 stars); RoadRunner (3.2 stars); Clearwire Corporation (2.4 stars); and Charter Communications (2.9 stars).

At the end of the first quarter of 2010, there were close to 492 million broadband subscribers worldwide. Ninety-three million Americans – 35 percent of the population – have not adopted broadband, according to Ookla.

Given that Asia dominates the list of 100 Fastest Internet cities and China is the most populous nation in the world, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that China is home to the largest broadband service provider in the world.

The latest data gathered by research firm Telegeography shows that at the end of the first quarter of 2010, China Telecom led the top 10 broadband service provider rankings. It was followed by China Unicom. The two Chinese ISPs account for nearly 20 percent of the world’s broadband subscribers.

The rise of these two carriers also mirrors the rise of China as an Internet behemoth, pushing the U.S. into the second spot.

The United States had four broadband ISPs in the top 10: Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon. The top 10 broadband service providers in total account for roughly 39 percent of world’s total broadband customers, and they collectively added about 23.3 million new subscribers between the first quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010.

Here are the top 10 broadband service providers in the U.S. based on download speeds.

  1. Comcast 16.26 Mbps
  2. Charter Communications 15.06 Mbps
  3. Midcontinent Communications 14.36 Mbps
  4. Optimum Online (Cablevision) 14.31 Mbp
  5. RoadRunner (Time Warner Cable) 13.48 Mbps
  6. Cox Communications 13.41 Mbps
  7. Insight Communications 11.75 Mbps
  8. Surewest Broadband 11.44 Mbps
  9. Verizon 10.76 Mbps
  10. Prairiewave Telecommunications 10.52 Mbps

According to Ookla, in the U.S., the average monthly cost for broadband is at $47.32 or about $5.06 per Mbps.

Get the latest news alerts: at Twitter.