Opensignal reveals how fixed broadband compares in actual use of 25 US subways

Opensignal reveals how fixed broadband compares in actual use of 25 US subways

Known for its in-depth and independent reports on wireless carrier networks based on millions of metrics, Opensignal has released its first US Fixed Broadband Comparison Study. In addition to traditional providers, Opensignal has included 5G home internet services from Verizon and T-Mobile.

Opensignal normally provides a national score for providers in its cellular studies. However, this does not work when it comes to broadband.

“No single broadband provider delivers service to every household. As a result, any national experience chart will in practice miss the details most important to users comparing the broadband experience in their area. For this reason, In this first report, we analyzed the actual situation, across all user plans, in 25 major markets to assess the fixed broadband experience.We use Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) as definitions of each market – each being centered around a major city or population center.

Opensignal’s Detailed US Fixed Broadband Report presents nine key overall findings and for each metro market, providers are scored on six metrics:

  • Broadband success rate
  • Consistent broadband quality
  • High-speed video experience
  • Broadband download speed
  • Maximum Broadband Download Speed
  • High speed download speed

Here’s a look at the LA/Long Beach/Anaheim results:

And here is an overview of New York/Newark/Jersey City:

You can view the full report with results from the other 23 major markets.

Key Findings from Opensignal’s US Broadband Report

  • Fixed broadband in the United States is undergoing rapid development and modernization. Consumers have more choices of broadband providers than ever before. Today, cable companies and incumbent telephone operators face competition from new fiber overbuilders and fixed wireless players using the latest 5G technology.
  • 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) players typically rank in the middle of the pack on all six essential fixed broadband experience metrics. Incumbent cable and telecom companies generally comfortably beat new incoming 5G FWA providers, at least for now.
  • In most markets, cable companies had the highest broadband download speed scores. This success for cable companies — Spectrum, Xfinity, Optimum and Cox — has come despite the arrival of 5G-based fixed broadband. Fiber players are changing this situation, but in the 25 cities analyzed in this report, they are in the minority.
  • Providers often advertise maximum speeds that are very different from the actual experience. Claimed speeds now reach 2 Gbps or 5 Gbps, with 8 Gbps in 2023. In this report, Opensignal quantifies user experience based on real-world measurements.
  • At peak times of the day, between noon and 6 p.m., consistent broadband quality scores tend to be lower. However, statistical differences between provider peak times and consistent average broadband quality are rare.
  • In many markets, incumbent telephone companies lead in broadband download speed. These companies, such as AT&T, Frontier, or Verizon, have substantial leads over the second-best provider due to their extensive fiber-to-the-home footprints. Fiber-based players are far ahead of all other types of broadband technology in the broadband download speed experience category, which has grown in prominence since the pandemic as more and more people work from home.
  • Fibre-to-the-home broadband providers are also seeing a difference in users’ average broadband download and upload speeds compared to competitors using hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC), 5G fixed wireless or digital subscriber line over telephone line (xDSL) technologies.
  • Broadband pass rate scores are similar across most markets, regardless of the underlying technology. In most cities, we observed statistical links between three or more providers. However, in Houston and San Diego, there were stark differences in the extent to which Opensignal users could rely on their broadband connection when they needed it.


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