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USA Fixed Broadband Experience — National View — May 2024

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In this report, we have examined real-world data from our U.S. fixed broadband users. We look at four key measures of the broadband user experience: 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.

This is the first in a two-part series of reports on the U.S. fixed broadband experience. This first report focuses on the five Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with the most extensive service areas: AT&T, Spectrum (Charter), T-Mobile, Verizon, and Xfinity (Comcast). These providers are the only ones with a claim to having a nationwide footprint, with each passing more than a third of U.S. homes, per Opensignal’s Q4 2023 service territories, which leverage proprietary crowdsourced network data and the latest data from the FCC. Given the focus on national brands, all award tables are technology-agnostic and include a blend of different types of ISP technology access, e.g. cable, DSL, FWA, and fiber. 

We also conduct five head-to-head comparisons between the analyzed ISPs by looking at how each broadband provider compares against its direct competitors based on the extent of the overlap of each provider’s service area. Overlaps are based on Q4 2023 Opensignal service territories. They are refined to the census tract level, and, just like award tables, they are also technology-agnostic.


Key findings


  • Xfinity comes first in two out of four metrics — Broadband Consistent Quality and Broadband Video Experience.
  • In speed categories, Spectrum wins Broadband Download Speed outright, while AT&T triumphs for Broadband Upload Speed.
  • Charter and Comcast win the most head-to-head matchups against Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T.
  • Verizon outperforms T-Mobile in all head-to-head comparisons.


National broadband experience



Cable providers score high for Broadband Download Speed, as Spectrum comes first in this category ahead of Xfinity. Meanwhile, AT&T wins Broadband Upload Speed, with a score nearly 20% higher than Verizon’s, due to the high prevalence of fiber customers purchasing symmetrical speeds in its customer base. It is worth noting that in March 2024, the FCC increased the benchmark for high-speed fixed broadband of download speeds from 25 to 100Mbps and upload speeds from 3 to 20Mbps — and average download and upload speeds achieved by ISPs nationally in our analysis mostly exceed these thresholds.



Broadband Consistent Quality measures how often users’ experience on a network is sufficient to support common applications’ requirements such as watching HD videos, participating in group video conference calls, or playing games. At a national level, Xfinity triumphs for this metric with a score of 84.3% — which reflects the proportions of users’ tests on this network that meet the minimum recommended performance thresholds to watch HD video, complete group video conference calls, and play games. Both Verizon and Spectrum also score above the 80% milestone, while T-Mobile and AT&T are above the 70% threshold. AT&T’s relative underperformance is reflective of the fact that more than a third of its subscribers are on non-fiber technologies.  

On top of claiming Broadband Consistent Quality, Xfinity also comes first for Broadband Video Experience, with a score of 75 points on a 100-point scale. All analyzed ISPs rate as Very Good (68-78) — meaning that our users are, on average, able to stream video at 1080p or better with satisfactory loading times and little stalling.


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 housing units 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. 


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, Spectrum is the analyzed broadband provider and its broadband service has a statistically higher score for Broadband Download Speed than competitor AT&T in the areas that both providers serve. In this case, the overlap is 52% — in other words, AT&T also passes 52% of the households passed by Spectrum.


Spectrum has a clean sweep against AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile for Broadband Download Speed, Broadband Consistent Quality and Broadband Video Experience in areas where both offer services. 



Xfinity smashes all three of its competitors on Broadband Download Speed and Broadband Video Experience contests. It also beats AT&T and T-Mobile in direct match-ups for Broadband Consistent Quality and is in a statistical tie for Broadband Upload Speed with T-Mobile.



AT&T reigns supreme for Broadband Upload Speed, beating all of its direct competitors. The ISP also outperforms fellow mobile network operators T-Mobile and Verizon for Broadband Download Speed and Broadband Video Experience in areas where both operators provide services. AT&T’s superior upload speed is reflective of the significant share of its customers on symmetrical fiber packages. As of Q1 2024, AT&T has 8.6 million residential fiber customers, 5.2 million residential non-fiber customers, and 203,000 fixed wireless customers.



T-Mobile’s haul of direct head-to-head awards is more modest compared to its competitors. For Broadband Upload Speed, it beats Spectrum and is in a statistical tie for first place with Xfinity. T-Mobile also wins outright in a match-up against AT&T for Broadband Consistent Quality. T-Mobile’s network relies completely on cellular fixed wireless, which delivers a less consistent experience than cable or fiber. The win over AT&T for BCQ is reflective of the number of DSL and fiber-to-the-node subscribers on AT&T’s network.



Verizon beats T-Mobile in all four of their head-to-head comparisons. The ISP also outperforms Xfinity for Broadband Upload Speed and Consistent Quality, while it also comes ahead of Spectrum for the former metric and ahead of AT&T for the latter. Verizon’s results reflect the mix of fiber, fixed wireless, and to a much smaller extent, DSL, in its footprint. As of Q1 2024, Verizon had more than 7 million residential fiber subscribers, more than 2 million residential fixed wireless subscribers, and barely more than 200,000 residential DSL customers.


Methodology and definitions

Opensignal references consumer-facing brand names in the reports, however, it is important to note that the ownership and operation of broadband infrastructure may be attributed to different corporate entities. We have included a table below that outlines the parent infrastructure companies associated with the consumer-facing broadband provider names.

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. 

Opensignal also captures user measurements across all broadband network architectures, encompassing fiber (FTTx), xDSL, cable, fixed wireless access (FWA) via 4G and 5G, as well as satellite, and reports on a holistic evaluation of our users’ experience with the listed providers' internet services.


Broadband Download Speed    
Measured in Mbps, Broadband Download Speed represents the typical everyday speeds a user experiences across a 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. Metrics are 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. Consistent quality is measured across all users at all hours of the day.


Broadband Video Experience 
Opensignal’s adaptive video experience quantifies video quality 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 several 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.