/* FIXME: the cat is new york and the rat is new jersey? */
New Jersey has bested New York when it comes to broadband, according to a survey of all 2,000 ISPs across the US – and both beat the rest of the country. The survey by Broadband Now, which offers an ISP comparison service for Americans, has listed each state from best to worst, and decided on the ranking by comparing a number …
Beat me to it.
Which is not surprising as I'm posting from Oregon, where my "broadband" connection involves a microwave relay, a long piece of wet string, two tin cans, 5 pigeons, and specially-trained homing messenger snails.
Nothing like a surreal lead image to tax the captioning little grey cells...
Bizarre internet access estimates for the US are nothing new. In 2008, the FCC described its own broadband statistics as "Stunningly meaningless". And I don't think things have changed that much. Nothing against Broadband Now. It looks like they are doing the best they can with a situation that pretty much defies rational analysis. And their rankings might even be roughly right. It's credible that residents of Alaska (outside probably of Anchorage) have pitiful to non-existent broadband access and New Jersey might well have excellent access overall. But the notion that rural Americans have much in the way of internet access is pretty weird. I doubt that the average rural American can stream low resolution video and upload digital images simultaneously. Assuming that they can do either.
It wasn't clear to me from the article whether Broadband Now depended on the ISPs for anything other than pricing information. So I'm -- perhaps generously -- assuming that their speed numbers come from users. But yes, if they asked Comcast about speeds I doubt they got a straight answer. Even a competent, honest ISP is probably is going to quote you the speeds experienced by their most favorably situated users, not the folks at the distal end of a long, noisy wire that has acquired a number of patches over the years.
> So I'm -- perhaps generously -- assuming that their speed numbers come from users.
My boyfriend and I are trying to buy a house upstate NY. Both of us being programmers, and often working from home, broadband access is essential.
So we find a house we like and then we go check Broadband Now. Spectrum advertises "Yes!!! Service is available!!! 900Mb/s speeds!!!" Which means theoretical maximum download speed, not what you'd get in practice.
Then we call Spectrum/Charter to check. The answer - inevitably - is "Yeah. We don't service that address. It's more than 1500ft away from the closest node. But, if you pay us $30,000, we'll pull cable to your house!"
In 2018 New York State awarded USD $500 MEELION in subsidies and grants to companies like Spectrum and Frontier Communications to expand broadband access upstate NY.
I'm just wondering where all that money went. It sure didn't seem to have gone to broadband expansion. One house we looked at recently only had access to Frontier Communications DSL at the blazing fast speed of 1Mb/s down 384K/s up. At Broadband Now, and at NY State's Broadband Office, the house is listed as having access to at least 300Mb/s from Spectrum/Charter.
You're lucky. At least the ISP web site told you service wasn't available. There has been horror stories about how someone called the ISP, got told there was service, bought the house and tried to get service only to discover that either all ports were full and they'd have to wait for someone else to drop service or it wasn't actually available.
I'd love to have even the slowest speeds mentioned in the article. Instead, we're stuck with Frontier DSL and no possibility of them ever improving the connections, service, or speed. What's really sad it in 2010 when we were in Tanzania we used a cellular USB dongle for internet access. The speed was substantially faster, cost around $22 buck a month, and actually had good customer service, even if we were Mzungus. The neat thing about the dongle? It automatically searched out the fastest connection, and would switch automatically between GPRS, EDGE, and HDSPA.
NJ has the highest population density of any US state. If you compare the list of states by population density with the list of best- and worst-performing states in this survey, you can't miss that 8 of the top 10 (7 states, plus DC) are among the top 10 most densely populated, and all of the bottom 10 are within the 20 least densely populated.
Honourable mention to TX, which cracks the top 10 despite being only #26 in terms of population density.
It's worth looking at this correlation, because it goes to how all those local monopolies came to be. Laying cables is expensive, and the smaller your city, the higher the cost looks when you're considering what to spend tax money on. So when some company offers to pay that cost themselves, in exchange for a monopoly on the right to use the stuff, that looks (or at least it did look, circa 1995 when this was happening) like a bargain. What you're left with now is thousands of cities suffering from buyers' remorse, because they took the cheap option back then rather than spring for a decent service from the get-go.
Moral: if you want decent services, be willing to pay for them. Having more people helps.
Look no further than our elected leader.
Yay, Massachusetts -- just sneaked into the top 10. I have 100M down on a good day, 30-60 on a bad one. 20M or so up. $70/month, and I have cut the costs to the bone, even provide my own modem. Fiber main trunk, coax to the home, don't really know where it transitions, but I think about a mile from me, at the large beige box on the phone pole.
It *is* very reliable, except when Comcast changes something, then I lose net and have to reset my modem. That happens once a month or so, usually in the early hours of the morning. I have Verizon fiber installed (they put it in when they took away my copper landline) so I can swap providers by making a phone call and moving a cable in the basement.
Can't complain, except for the unannounced outages and Comcast's domination of the national market. I hate to think what might happen rate- and usage cap-wise if Verizon were not around. Comcast does not have usage caps in this market, but they do where they have no competition.
People also forget how large the United States is. Texas is larger than France. And, unlike other countries, many Americans live a long ways away from cities. In England, a 120 mile trip is an overnight holiday; in America that is a day trip. Internet providers can certainly do better. I know of one person whose best internet is through the mobile phones, but slightly less than 5 miles away people can get 1 gig internet. My statement is meant to show that it is not as easy to give fast internet as it might sound.
This excuse never really works as people don't live in vast far-flung agglomerations of humans distant from each other, but in fairly close groups more easily catered for. Most Houstonians or Austinites are near enough that the density is less scattered than Sweden or Norway.
Provided the hubs are provided with excellent cheapish high speeds, tje rest can get by with satellite.
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