Good news for 4K UHD content, average U.S internet speeds rose 40% in 2016

by on October 27, 2016

Stephan Jukic – October 27, 2016

Web surfing 4K TV owners may not have a tremendous selection of home entertainment to choose from in native ultra HD resolution even at this point in the development of the 4K content ecosystem. However this is slowly changing for the better, and what’s definitely going to speed up that growth in 4K entertainment options, particularly of the streaming kind, is widespread high speed internet access.

This is why the latest findings from the internet analytics company Speedtest are of nearly definite benefit to 4K TV owners, existing and potential 4K streaming content subscribers and to content services as well. According to what the broadband analytics company’s U.S internet speed report indicates, the average American broadband consumer’s web connectivity speeds have dramatically risen in the last year (2016 and part of 2015). This applies most of all to the crucial metric of download speeds, which have risen on average by 24% since July of 2015 to reach what is today’s peak and record level of 55Mbps. Upload speeds, which aren’t quite as important for the streaming of web-based content, have also risen even more impressively, with a 51% gain over the same time frame.

According to the findings of the Speedtest study,

“The typical fixed broadband consumer in the U.S. saw average download speeds greater than 50 Mbps for the first time ever during the first six months of 2016, topping out at 54.97 Mbps in June”

Image source: Speedtest

Image source: Speedtest

Moving into more specific details, Speedtest also found that the ISP companies which most dominate the landscape of these rising broadband connectivity speeds are Comcast, with its Xfinity service, Cox, Spectrum and the fiber optic company Verizon with its Fios service.

Comcast’s XFINITY service seems to blow away all major competition with average download speeds in excess of 125Mbps and both Cox and Spectrum follow closely behind Comcast with services that offer average connectivity speeds of 118 and 114Mbps respectively. Speedtest also speculates that Cox in particular could soon overtake Comcast in broadband delivery power given that this particular company has managed to create impressive internet speed gains of 35% between April and June of 2016 alone.

Then there’s the other major U.S player Verizon, which not only delivers a robustly high average download speed of 94Mbps but also manages to stnd out from most competitors in also delivering a very closely high level of download speed at 88Mbps. This means that Verizon’s variation between download and upload speeds is the smallest among the top performers on the market right now according to Speedtest’s findings.

Moving toward the lower end of internet connectivity quality lineup, Speedtest found that CenturyLink offered the worst average fixed broadband download speeds of the major providers at 40Mbps and AT&T offers the worst upload speeds among the bunch at 7Mbps.

Of course besides these broadband bitrates from the major players, there are also large numbers of outliers on both ends of the ISP spectrum. On the extreme high speed end there are services like Google Fiber, which is limited to a few highly specific places in the U.S but which offers massive broadband speeds in the Gigabit range. Then on the lower end, millions of Americans, particularly in rural areas, still can’t access high-speed internet services at all and are stuck with download speeds in the single digit Mbps or even Kbps ranges.

As Speedtest itself noted in their report, there are still many improvements to be made in terms of U.S broadband connectivity speeds due to highly uneven dispersal of the above high speed connectivity services. The analytics company report points out recent Federal Communications Commission findings which found that 10% of Americans living in urban areas don’t have access to broadband speeds which meet the FCC’s target standard of 25Mbps for downloads and 3Mbps for uploads. Even worse still, as we indicated above, four times as large a percentage of rural Americans don’t have access to this FCC target speed.

As we have noted many times on this website in our guides, reviews and other posts, the minimum ideal internet connectivity necessary for smooth, buffer-free streaming of 4K content in native resolution sits at between 20 and 25Mbps of consistent broadband speed, the same nuber as that named by the FCC as their target standard. In other words, at least 10% of urban Americans and some 40% of rural dwellers couldn’t access 4K content from services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and other streaming subscription companies even if they happen to own a 4K ultra HD TV.

Image source: Speedtest

Image source: Speedtest

Speedtest’s findings for their study also covered average mobile internet speeds and have found the same tendency toward rising connectivity power to be the case here too. Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile offer mobile connectivity speeds which are nearly on the same line at 21.11 and 21.02Mbps respectively. Sprint follows well behind these two companies but still manages to deliver respectable connectivity at 15Mbps for its wireless customers.

Speedtest also claims that the development of 5G mobile internet is likely to shift the wireless internet landscape towards much faster connectivity in the next few years, starting in major urban areas.

Story by 4k.com

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