Latest Ookla Report Reveals a Surprising Champion as the Fastest Internet Provider in the United States

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What is happening

Every three months, Ookla announces the results it gathers from insights gained from millions of customer uses of its Speedtest.net tool. Think of it as a quarterly tally of the speeds Americans are getting from their internet service providers.

why is it important

Americans have become increasingly dependent on their home broadband connections for work and play, so the actual performance of these Internet services is vital.

Verizon was knocked off the mountain. The latest Ookla Speedtest Intelligence report, released this week, named Cox Communications as the fastest fixed broadband provider in the United States during the second quarter of 2022. Verizon had finished on top during the first three months of 2022.

In fact, Verizon had captured the top spot every quarter since the start of 2020. However, Ookla’s report, which uses data from customer queries on Speedtest.net, now uses the median instead of the average. So we’re not exactly comparing apples to apples. The image below from the Ookla site gives an example of the difference.

Graph showing the difference between the median and the mean

Ok so

As an Ookla spokesperson told me via email, “We’ve implemented this change to more accurately represent typical performance that consumers actually experience on a network.”

This means that for the second quarter of 2022, Cox finished decisively in the lead with a median download speed of around 197 megabits per second. Xfinitythe second, got a median download speed of 184 Mbps. Spectrum was third at 183 Mbps, Verizon was next at 171 Mbps, and AT&T capped the top five at nearly 147 Mbps.

Cox also did well regionally. It was the fastest fixed broadband provider in 14 of the nation’s 100 most populous cities, including the fastest city in the United States, Gilbert, Arizona, as well as Vegas, Phoenix and San Diego.

Additionally, it was the fastest ISP in four states: Arizona, Arkansas, Nevada, and Oklahoma. Not bad, sure, but Xfinity was top dog in 12 states, Spectrum in seven, and Google fiber and Verizon each won five states.

Despite its dominant performance at the top of the speed chart, Cox completely missed the top five for fastest download speeds. It recorded a median download speed of just under 11 Mbps. This was well below the top three providers of Border (113 Mbps), Verizon (112 Mbps) and AT&T (112 Mbps). It also couldn’t measure up to Xfinity (19 Mbps), CenturyLink (12Mbps) or Spectrum (11.7Mbps).

It’s not completely unexpected. Cable connections from Cox, Spectrum, and Xfinity (or CenturyLink’s DSL network, for that matter) won’t be able to compete with the higher download speeds you can find with a fiber optic internet connection, which AT&T, Frontier, and Verizon all boast a certain percentage in their respective footprints.

As Ookla continues its reporting throughout the year, it will be interesting to see if any trends develop as it establishes the use of median as a primary performance metric going forward.

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