Francesco Rizzato and Robert Wyrzykowski
Verizon fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) is first for Broadband Download Speed and Broadband Consistent Quality nationally
Google Fiber leads for Broadband Upload Speed and Broadband Video Experience
Head-to-Head Competitive Experience
Verizon FTTH beats all of its direct competitors in all experience categories
Xfinity wins 13 categories outright against its key rivals
Against competitors, AT&T FTTH has a clean sweep on Broadband Speed contests
Spectrum wins five competitive battles on Broadband Download Speed
Google Fiber comes first or joint first for all metrics in the Southeast
In the Southwest, Tachus leads in every category, either on its own or with others
In the Midwest, Allo Fiber leads on speed and is joint first for broadband video and consistency
Google Fiber and TDS FTTH come top in three out of four categories in the West
Verizon FTTH and GoNetspeed vie for the top spot in the Northeast
In this third Opensignal report on the state of fixed broadband experience in the U.S., Opensignal analyzes the real-world experience of our American users, across four key measures: Broadband Download Speed, Broadband Upload Speed, Broadband Consistent Quality, and Broadband Video Experience. Together, these measures capture the wide range of ways that households use broadband services, ranging from remote work and education to video streaming and gaming.
For the first time, we examine the U.S. national broadband experience and also analyze providers’ experience in five regions. Even more significantly, we compare ten head-to-head battles by looking at how a broadband provider compares against its direct competitors, based on the extent of the overlap of each providers’ service area.
Plan characteristics — for example, speed tiers or data caps — vary greatly by provider and the dispersion of the plan mix will affect the average experience result. Opensignal’s measurements capture users’ experience, regardless of the plan that they have purchased from their provider. This report analyzes the real-world situation across all users’ plans.
For households likely to switch providers, broadband network experience is very important
Opensignal’s quarterly US Household Survey demonstrates the importance of a strong network experience. For households with a high likelihood of switching broadband providers in the next three months, speed/performance is the first or second most important driver. It is far ahead of most other factors including poor customer experience or bundling or switching to a wireless-only service using their phone. This trend holds true whether a household’s current provider is a Cable company, a Telco — even if the connection is an FTTH connection — or an Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) customer, for example using 4G or 5G.
Broadband providers that wish to acquire these switchers, should secure a greater share if their broadband network experience is strong. The rest of this report quantifies the real-world broadband network experience across the U.S. including national and regional comparisons, as well as head-to-head comparisons where providers’ service areas directly overlap across four key measures of broadband network experience.
In this report we compare broadband providers across all users’ plans, both nationally, and in five regions of the U.S.: Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, Southwest, and West. For a broadband provider to be included in the national comparison it needs to provide services in at least four out of five regions and also pass at least one million homes.
The analysis includes Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (telcos), cable companies, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) providers, overbuilders, rural co-op initiatives — and the major low-earth orbit satellite broadband provider, Starlink. In this report, we have excluded legacy geostationary satellite broadband providers, rural fixed wireless providers, and municipal broadband providers.
Verizon Fios FTTH customers enjoy the fastest average broadband download speeds in the U.S., clocking in at 157.6Mbps. AT&T with its FTTH services and Google Fiber are tied for second place nationally, with scores of 139.6-140.2Mbps — 17.4-18Mbps behind the highest scorer. Cable operators Spectrum, Cox, Optimum, and Xfinity follow close behind, with results ranging from 124.7Mbps to 137.3Mbps. Starlink, which offers satellite connectivity, comes 20th with a score of 56.3Mbps.
Overall, 11 operators surpass the 100Mbps mark in terms of average fixed broadband download speeds — a milestone that could soon be the new, revised threshold definition for broadband connectivity in the U.S.
We observe a big disparity between broadband providers, as our users on the highest-scoring Verizon’s FTTH services enjoy Broadband Download Speed nearly 11 times faster than their peers subscribed to the lowest-scoring Brightspeed’s non-FTTH services. Brightspeed brings up the rear with a score of 14.4Mbps — with speeds below the 25Mbps threshold level that is currently defined as broadband by the Federal Communications Commission.
Google Fiber is the highest scorer for Broadband Upload Speed across all 26 broadband providers eligible for the national comparison. It beats second-placed AT&T FTTH by 10.5Mbps and third-placed Verizon FTTH by 12.6Mbps — and is the only broadband provider with national average upload speeds above the 100Mbps mark.
While most fiber offerings are sold as symmetrical, we do not see any providers with truly symmetrical Download and Upload speeds. Our users on Google Fiber observe the lowest proportional gap between Broadband Download Speed and Broadband Upload Speed, with average broadband upload speeds being 23.5% slower than average broadband download speeds — followed by FTTH services on Consolidated (29.7%), AT&T (31.3%) and Frontier (31.6%).
On the other hand, cable broadband providers see the biggest drops in upload speeds compared to the download speeds — with Spectrum and Cox seeing more than 90% slower upload than download speeds, followed closely by Xfinity (87.8%).
Broadband Consistent Quality measures how often users’ experience on a network is sufficient to support common applications’ requirements. Verizon FTTH comes first in the U.S., with a score of 84.3% — which means 84.3% of users’ tests on this network have met the minimum recommended performance thresholds to watch HD video, complete group video conference calls, and play games.
Frontier and TDS with their FTTH services share the second spot with statistically tied scores of 81.5-82.7% — ahead of Google Fiber which places fourth in the U.S. TDS comes second, as its upper confidence interval overlaps Frontier’s lower confidence interval, but Google Fiber’s upper confidence interval does not overlap with Frontier.
Four broadband providers score over 80% and 18 score in excess of 70%. But Frontier’s and Brightspeed’s non-FTTH services have Broadband Consistent Quality scores below 50%. Notably, Starlink customers only experience Broadband Consistent Quality 55.8% of the time.
Google Fiber leads Broadband Video Experience nationally, with a score of 73.5 points on a 100-point scale — 0.5 points ahead of Verizon’s FTTH services. TDS and Frontier with their FTTH services place third, along with Xfinity — as all three broadband providers are in a statistical tie, with scores of 71.7-71.8 points.
On 17 out of 26 broadband providers our users enjoy video streaming services rated as Very Good (68-78) — this means they are, on average, able to stream video at 1080p or better with satisfactory loading times and little stalling. Eight broadband providers place in the Good (58-68) category and Brightspeed non-FTTH is the only broadband provider nationally to receive a Fair (48-58) rating.
Spotlight on Fixed Broadband Experience & Subscriber Data
For a broadband provider to be included in the regional analysis in this report, it needs to have at least 100,000 homes passed in the particular region and also there must be evidence of a significant level of adoption.
Across the regions, it is clear fiber Overbuilders do well across many regions and in many broadband experience categories — although their service availability is more limited than the large Telcos and Cable broadband providers. Google Fiber has some of the best scores in the country across all categories, either nationally or regionally, while GoNetspeed, Tachus, and Allo Fiber claim top or joint top spots in their respective regions in almost every category.
The difference between users’ typical download and upload speeds varies across different broadband providers and types of providers. Our users that subscribe to overbuilders like Google Fiber, Tachus, or Allo Fiber enjoy average broadband upload speeds only 20-30% slower than their average broadband download speeds.
While Cable providers do well in many broadband experience metrics, cable households see drastically lower upload speeds compared to their download speeds. This gap is much more substantial for cable companies like Spectrum, Cox, or Xfinity — their Broadband Upload Speed results are around 90% slower than their Broadband Download Speed scores.
No fixed broadband services are faster than the fiber services on Verizon in New England and Mid-Atlantic — which includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., and Vermont. Verizon scores the highest, with average broadband download speeds at 157.3Mbps. The overbuilder GoNetspeed shares the second spot together with the cablecos Cox and Spectrum, with scores of 138.9-145.3Mbps.
Twelve out of 22 broadband providers have average download speeds over 100Mbps in the Northeast, while Brightspeed and the non-FTTH services belonging to three broadband providers — Kinetic, Consolidated, Frontier, and Brightspeed — score below 50Mbps.
GoNetspeed scores the highest for Broadband Upload Speed in the Northeast, with an average broadband upload speed of 117.4Mbps — only 19.2% slower than its Broadband Download Speed. Our users subscribed to GoNetspeed services enjoyed 23.5% faster speeds than their peers with a subscription to Verizon’s FTTH services, which take second place in the Northeast. TDS FTTH takes the third spot, with a score of 87.3Mbps. Subscribers to FTTH services on Kinetic, Consolidated, and Frontier see average upload speeds exceeding 50Mbps.
Similar to the national results, cablecos observe the highest disparities between their Broadband Upload Speed and Broadband Download Speed results. Average upload speeds on Spectrum are 91.3% slower than their download speeds, followed by Cox (91%) and Xfinity (87.4%).
Opensignal’s proprietary, highly granular near-real-time data on broadband subscribers (Broadband CarrierVision and Broadband MarketVision) has shown that GoNetspeed’s high-performance fiber-to-the-home product is highly compelling to customers as we see rapid migration of customers from incumbent cablecos and telcos to this growing overbuilder as soon as it enters a new market.
Four broadband providers statistically tie for the highest score for Broadband Consistent Quality in the Northeast — GoNetspeed, Astound Broadband, and FTTH services provided by Verizon and TDS — with scores of 81.3-84.2%. On 17 broadband providers in the Northeast, users’ tests have met the minimum recommended performance thresholds to watch HD video, complete group video conference calls, and play games in more than 70% of tests. Non-FTTH Consolidated and Brightspeed see Broadband Consistent Quality results below 50%.
GoNetSpeed comes first for Broadband Video Experience in the Northeast region, with a score of 74.3 points on a 100-point scale — beating Verizon’s FTTH services by 1.4 points. Astound Broadband, Cox, Armstrong, and Xfinity are statistically tied for third place with scores of 71.6-71.8 points. 18 out of 22 broadband providers place in the Very Good (68-78) category — this means our users are, on average, able to stream video at 1080p or better with satisfactory loading times and little stalling. Three providers rate as Good (58-68) and Brightspeed non-FTTH lands in the Fair (48-58) category.
Verizon FTTH, Google Fiber, and Metronet lead for Broadband Download Speed in the Southeast, with scores of 155.5-160.4Mbps. They are the only broadband providers to surpass the 150Mbps mark in the Southeast. FTTH services on AT&T’s network place fourth, while Spectrum takes the fifth position. In Opensignal’s proprietary broadband subscriber data, we have seen Verizon FTTH, Google Fiber, and Metronet consistently net gaining customers over the last few years.
The Southeast region includes Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Our users enjoy average download speeds 100Mbps or faster on 16 out of 41 broadband providers that were analyzed. Non-FTTH services on CenturyLink and Brightspeed are the only broadband services in the Southeast with average download speeds below 25Mbps — which is the FCC’s threshold definition of broadband.
Google Fiber outright leads for Broadband Upload Speed with a score of 122.9Mbps, while Metronet is the runner-up, with a score of 110.5Mbps. Both broadband providers surpass the 100Mbps mark. AT&T’s FTTH services come third, with a score of 98.8Mbps, 8.7Mbps ahead of Verizon’s, and 13.2Mbps ahead of Frontier’s FTTH services.
Google Fiber’s average broadband upload speeds are 22.6% slower than its average broadband download speeds, while Point Broadband’s speeds are 23.8% slower. Lumos, Metronet, and C Spire Fiber also observe broadband upload speeds under 30% slower than their broadband download speeds. Meanwhile, our users on cable companies Spectrum and Cox observe over 90% slower upload than download speeds
Google Fiber and Metronet are in a statistical tie for the highest score for Broadband Consistent Quality in the Southeast, with scores in the 85.4-87.2% range. Verizon FTTH comes third with a score of 85%, ahead of fourth-placed FTTH services on Frontier, which scores 83.2%. 26 out of 41 broadband providers in the Southeast score over 70%.
On non-FTTH broadband services of AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier, and Brightspeed, less than 50% of our users’ tests meet the minimum recommended performance thresholds to watch HD video, complete group video conference calls, and play games — with Brightspeed bringing up the rear with a score of 35.8%.
Google Fiber tops Broadband Video Experience in the Southeast region, with a score of 74.6 points on a 100-point scale. Verizon FTTH comes second, 1.1 points behind the highest scorer, while the overbuilder Metronet places third for Broadband Video Experience in the region, with a score of 72.9 points.
Focus Broadband, HTC, and Frontier FTTH are in a statistical tie for fourth place, with scores of 71.8-72.1 points. Most operators rate as Very Good (68-78) or Good (58-68), with only Brightspeed, non-FTTH placing in the Fair (48-58) category.
Telco AT&T (offering FTTH services) and overbuilder Tachus share first place for Broadband Download Speed in the Southwest with scores of 150.3-154.6Mbps. The cable operator Spectrum comes third behind the joint highest scorers — as Tachus’s upper confidence interval overlaps with AT&T’s lower confidence interval, but Spectrum’s upper confidence interval does not overlap with AT&T.
Subscribers to these top three fixed broadband providers enjoy average broadband download speeds of over 150Mbps. In total, 11 out of 27 analyzed broadband providers in the Southwest have download speeds clocking in at 100Mbps or more. Similar to other regions, Brightspeed non-FTTH lags behind other providers, with a score of 14.5Mbps — less than 10% of what users on the top three broadband providers observe. The Southwest area consists of Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Overbuilders Google Fiber and Tachus lead for Broadband Upload Speed in the Southwest, with statistically tied scores of 109.6-112.5Mbps. AT&T FTTH follows close behind with a score of 106.5Mbps and takes third place. FTTH service from fellow telco Frontier comes fourth with a score of 91.1Mbps, while overbuilder Vexus Fiber makes it to the top five for Broadband Upload Speed with a score of 86.4Mbps.
Our users connected to Google Fiber and Tachus observe the smallest differences between their average broadband download and upload speeds — with average upload speeds being 14.9% and 27.1% slower on these broadband providers than download speeds, respectively. Similar to other regions, subscribers to cable operators observe the widest gap —91.5% for Spectrum, 90.4% for Cox, and 88.3% slower for Xfinity.
Tachus comes first for Broadband Consistent Quality in the Southwest area. Nearly 90% of our users’ tests on Tachus’s network meet the minimum recommended performance thresholds to watch HD video, complete group video conference calls, and play games.
Frontier FTTH and Google Fiber jointly secure the second spot, with scores of 84.1-84.9%. Cox comes fourth, 0.7 percentage points shy of the 80% mark. Cable operators Optimum and Spectrum along with FTTH services on Consolidated and Kinetic jointly take fifth place. Non-FTTH Brightspeed comes last, with a score of 35.6%.
Overbuilder Tachus has the highest score in the Southwest for Broadband Video Experience, as it tops the chart with a score of 74.3 points on a 100-point scale. Google Fiber and Frontier FTTH take the second spot with scores of 73.3-73.5 points, ahead of fourth-placed AT&T FTTH. Xfinity, Cox, and Astound Broadband share fifth place.
Eighteen out of 27 broadband providers rate as Very Good (68-78) for broadband video services. Eight fixed broadband providers place in the category below — Good (58-68) — Brightspeed non-FTTH rates as Fair (48-58).
Allo Fiber leads on Broadband Download Speed in the Midwest, with a score of 153Mbps. It commands a sizable winning margin over seven broadband providers which are in a statistical tie for second place — Armstrong, Google Fiber, AT&T FTTH, Midco, Spectrum, Metronet, and TDS FTTH, with scores in the 128.3-134.9Mbps range. Users on non-FTTH services on Brightspeed and Frontier have average download speeds under 25Mbps — below the FCC’s threshold definition of broadband. The Midwest states are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Allo Fiber comes first for Broadband Upload Speed in the Midwest, with a score of 110Mbps — 10.9Mbps ahead of the runner-up Google Fiber which scored 99Mbps. Metronet, AT&T FTTH, and TDS FTTH tie for third place, with scores of 89.8-93Mbps. Frontier FTTH and Kinetic FTTH take sixth place with scores of 61.7-65.8Mbps — substantially behind the providers in third place. Frontier non-FTTH and Brightspeed non-FTTH bring up the rear with average broadband upload speeds below 3Mbps.
Frontier FTTH sees the lowest disparity between average broadband download and upload speeds, of 22.2%, followed by Google Fiber (25.4%) and Allo Fiber (28.1%). Subscribers to cable providers like Buckeye Broadband, Cox, or Spectrum observe more than 90% slower average broadband upload speeds compared to their average download speeds.
Four fixed broadband providers share the top spot for Broadband Consistent Quality in the Midwest — TDS FTTH, Google Fiber, Metronet, and Allo Fiber, with scores of 81.8-84.2%. Breezeline, WOW! and Frontier FTTH are other broadband providers with consistent quality scores of over 80%. Two providers — Brightspeed non-FTTH and Frontier non-FTTH have scores below 50%.
Overbuilders Google Fiber and Allo Fiber jointly rank first for Broadband Video Experience in the Midwest, with identical scores of 73.1 points. Metronet, TDS FTTH, Armstrong, and Breezeline all tie for third place, with scores of 72.2-72.4. 29 out of 37 broadband providers place in the Very Good (68-78) category in terms of quality of video services, while the remaining eight observed providers rate as Good (58-68).
The Midwest, like the Southeast, is notable for having a long tail of regionally focused providers, mostly cablecos. One trend we have seen in our proprietary broadband subscriber data is that cablecos who have under-invested in their network and see weaker network performance, such as Arvig, struggle to win more customers than they lose. In contrast, Armstrong, with ranks much higher in all categories, has done better at net gaining customers in our data over the past few years.
Our users subscribed to Google Fiber, Spectrum, and TDS FTTH broadband services enjoy the fastest average broadband download speeds in the West region, in the range of 137-142.2Mbps. Xfinity comes fourth with a score of 137.1Mbps — its upper confidence interval does not overlap with Google Fiber’s lower confidence interval, which is the case for TDS FTTH.
Cox completes the top five providers with the fastest broadband download speeds in the West, with a score of 134.8Mbps. Meanwhile, Consolidated non-FTTH and Alaska Communications lag behind, with scores of 19.3 and 16.2Mbps, respectively. The West region consists of Mountain states (Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Montana, and Wyoming) and Pacific states (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington).
Google Fiber triumphs for Broadband Upload Speed in the West, with a score of 98.8Mbps — 16.4% faster than second-placed overbuilder Sonic. Companies offering FTTH services — Frontier and AT&T — jointly claim the third spot, with scores of 76-78Mbps, while Ziply Fiber FTTH comes fifth, with a score of 69.2Mbps.
Compared to their Broadband Download scores, Consolidated FTTH and Ziply Fiber FTTH observe the smallest difference in their average broadband upload speeds, of 26.5% and 27.6% respectively. Cable operators Spectrum, Cox and Xfinity have substantially lower Broadband Upload Speed scores compared to their Broadband Download Speed results — with average upload speeds reaching only around a tenth of their average download speeds.
TDS FTTH and Frontier FTTH lead for Broadband Consistent Quality with scores of 82-83.2%. Nine broadband providers tie for third place, with scores ranging from 75.8% to 80.5%. Eight operators have results below 60%.
Google Fiber and TDS FTTH are joint highest scorers for Broadband Video Experience, with scores of 73.2-73.3 points on a 100-point scale. Xfinity takes the third spot, with a score of 72.3 points — 0.3 points ahead of Ziply Fiber FTTH and 0.8 points ahead of Frontier. Out of 29 broadband providers, 21 of them rate as Very Good (68-78) for Broadband Video Experience, while the remaining eight observed providers place in the Good (58-68) category.
Head-to-Head Competitive Experience
Broadband service providers serve different areas. In any given location, consumers will often have a limited choice between providers. For this reason, Opensignal has compared the broadband network experience head-to-head between providers in just the areas where both offer services.
In this section, each table looks at how each broadband provider fares against its key competitors. The competitors are chosen based on the size of the overlap between the two providers. The percentage overlap represents the number of households passed by a competitor within the analyzed broadband provider’s footprint compared to the number of households passed by the analyzed broadband provider in its footprint. The competitors included for each analyzed broadband provider are the other broadband providers with an overlap greater than 5% of the analyzed broadband provider’s footprint.
A “Win” in these charts means that the broadband experience score of the analyzed broadband provider – named at the top of each table — is significantly higher in areas where it overlaps with the competitor named in each row on the left of the table. For example, in the table immediately below, AT&T is the analyzed broadband provider and its FTTH service has a statistically higher score for Broadband Video Experience than competitor Spectrum in the areas that both providers serve. In this case, the overlap is 46.1% — in other words, 46.1% of the households passed by AT&T FTTH are also passed by Spectrum.
Against its key competitors, AT&T FTTH has a clean sweep on Broadband Speed contests — both upload and download — winning every one. It also wins three out of five head-to-head contests on Broadband Video Experience.
CenturyLink FTTH wins all five Broadband Upload Speed contests against its rivals in areas where both offer service. Additionally, it ties against two competitors — both fixed wireless access players — on Broadband Consistent Quality.
Cox has six clear wins against its competitors in Broadband Consistent Quality. Plus it beats both FWA providers on Broadband Download Speed and Broadband Consistent Quality, while it also bests T-Mobile FWA on Broadband Video Experience.
Frontier FTTH has a clean sweep on Broadband Upload Speed and Broadband Consistent Quality against its direct competitors. Also, it beats T-Mobile FWA in all four experience categories. Against Verizon FWA and Optimum it wins three and ties in the remaining category meaning it is unbeaten.
Optimum wins five Broadband Consistent Quality head-to-head contests, alongside four battles on both Broadband Download Speed and Broadband Video Experience. Against Verizon FWA, Optimum wins every battle while against T-Mobile FWA, AT&T non-FTTH, and Frontier non-FTTH it wins three. In total, Optimum wins 14 head-to-head broadband experience categories out of a total of 24 possible wins.
Spectrum wins three of the four experience categories against three of its direct competitors: AT&T non-FTTH, T-Mobile FWA, and Frontier non-FTTH. On Broadband Download Speed it wins five battles, only losing to two FTTH players.
Against non-FTTH players T-Mobile FWA performs well, winning all four experience categories against CenturyLink non-FTTH and three versus both AT&T non-FTTH and Frontier non-FTTH. T-Mobile FWA also wins outright six Broadband Upload Speed contests against competitors including four cable providers — Xfinity, Spectrum, Cox, and Optimum — as well as Verizon FWA.
Against its five most important direct competitors, Verizon FTTH wins in every fixed Broadband Experience category. Verizon’s users have the fastest broadband upload and download average speeds, the most consistent broadband experience, and the best video streaming experience using broadband.
Verizon FWA wins six direct Broadband Consistent Quality contests against direct competitors and ties against one additional provider. Also, it wins five Broadband Video Experience battles outright and ties in a further two. Against Frontier non-FTTH, Verizon FWA wins three awards outright. Verizon beats T-Mobile FWA in three out of four categories.
In head-to-head contests, Xfinity wins in three-quarters of experience categories against AT&T non-FTTH, T-Mobile FWA and CenturyLink non-FTTH. In total, it wins 13 categories outright against its key rivals. In both Broadband Video Experience and Broadband Consistent Quality Xfinity wins against a key fiber competitor, AT&T FTTH.
Methodology and definitions
Broadband Download Speed
Measured in Mbps, Broadband Download Speed represents the typical everyday speeds a user experiences across a service provider’s network.
Broadband Upload Speed
Measured in Mbps, Broadband Upload Speed measures the average upload speeds for each internet service provider observed by our users across their fixed networks. Typically, upload speeds are slower than download speeds, but this often depends on the technology used for broadband connections.
Broadband Consistent Quality
Measures how often users’ experience on a network was sufficient to support common applications’ requirements. Broadband Consistent Quality uses six key performance indicators including download and upload speed, latency, jitter, packet loss, and time to first byte. This metric is represented as a percentage of users’ tests that have met the minimum recommended performance thresholds to watch HD video, complete group video conference calls and play games.
Broadband Video Experience
Opensignal’s adaptive video experience quantifies the quality of video streamed to mobile devices by measuring real-world video streams over an operator's network. The metric measures users’ adaptive video experience using a Mean Opinion Score (MOS) approach inspired by International Telecommunication Union (ITU) studies which have derived a relationship between technical parameters of adaptive bitrate video streaming and the perceived video experience as reported by real people.
The videos tested are streamed directly from the world’s largest video content providers and include a wide selection of resolutions that dynamically match the network conditions, available bandwidth, and device performance. Resolutions range from 144p to 2160p, which is also called 4K or UHD (Ultra High Definition). The model calculates a MOS score on a 0 to 100 scale by evaluating a number of parameters, including the time to start playing the video, the quality of the video, the time playing each resolution, and the time spent re-buffering.
To fairly represent these customer choices, and given their different footprints, we have analyzed each combination of providers individually, focusing the comparisons in those areas where Opensignal has seen that service exists for both providers.
FTTH vs other or non-FTTH connection types
Connections are categorized as fiber/FTTH when the location is served by fiber to the home, building, or premise. Non-FTTH refers to all other wired connection types including cable including DOCSIS / hybrid fiber coax (HFC); fiber to the node (FTTN); fiber to the cabinet/curb (FTTC) including VDSL or G.fast; and ADSL.
Classification is based on a combination of broadband providers’ self-reported FCC Form 477 information and Opensignal signal-based detection of technology upgrades and footprint expansion. Opensignal assigns tests within a census block to the highest technology level offered by the broadband provider. Therefore, the FTTH results represent the broadband experience from within FTTH-capable areas.
Fixed Wireless Access, including 4G and 5G cellular technologies.
Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier — a former monopoly telecom provider. Also referred to as Telco.
Multi-Service Operator — a cable broadband provider. Also referred to as Cable.
A non-municipal broadband provider that entered the market after the provider company built most of its network. Some, like Astound and WOW! built most of their networks with cable technology, while more recent entrants like Google Fiber, MetroNet, and Allo Fiber exclusively use FTTH.
Rural Co-operative (Rural Co-op)
Cooperatively owned broadband service provider that typically operates in rural areas where ILECs are not present.
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